Merv puts $1 million tag on Copy That, Ray enjoys one of the best nights of his career
Owner Merv Butterworth has put a $1 million price tag on his superstar pacer Copy That, narrow winner of a thrilling Sunshine Sprint in Brisbane tonight.
In one of the closest and most exciting finishes seen at Albion Park, the Lincoln Farms’ speed machine held off swooping late sprints by King Of Swing and Rockin Marty in a nose and nose photo finish that even Copy That’s driver Anthony Butt could not pick.
The effort prompted owner Merv Butterworth, stuck in Melbourne, to rank the horse in the top few in Australasia and he revealed that bloodstock agents had tried to buy him during the week.
“The Americans asked me to put a price on him and I said $1 million. They coughed.”
Butterworth said he didn’t believe the price to be inflated.
“He’s earned nearly $600,000 in only 31 starts and in half of those he didn’t know how to race.
“But you can’t get too carried away with tonight’s win - he didn’t beat a field of champions, only one. But he’s got to be ranked in the top three in Australasia now.”
Butterworth said while he’s enjoying racing Copy That “if you put a $1 million on the table and I looked out and saw the horse in the paddock I’d take the million.
“He hasn’t done enough yet to be rated my best ever horse. He has more high speed than Arden Rooney but that horse was a super stayer.”
In 50 starts Arden Rooney won 21 races and $1.07 million, $665,000 of that from the New Zealand Cup and 2015 A G Hunter Cup.
“Copy That hasn’t earned over $1 million yet like Arden Rooney and how else do you measure it?”
Butterworth praised driver Anthony Butt for the confident way he drove Copy That - “parking those horses three wide.”
After being outsped from five on the gate, Butt managed to expertly manoeuvre Copy That into the one-out one-back possie.
But when Colt Thirty One started to mount a run from the back Butt was out quick as a flash to go up to breeze outside pacemaker Turn It Up.
And Butt said afterwards his faith in the horse allowed him to hold that position and park the three wide train.
When Copy That kicked strongly early in the home stretch he thought he would hold his rivals.
“Then in the last couple of strides it got really close and I didn’t know if I’d won.
“The world’s at his feet now. His manners are getting really good - he’s becoming a professional racehorse.”
Butt said winning next Saturday’s A$250,000 Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship would not be easy.
“King Of Swing was massive tonight and it will come down to luck in the running.”
Career highlight for Ray
Trainer Ray Green rated the achievement of winning the Sunshine Sprint with Copy That and South East Derby with American Dealer as one of the best of his career.
“They don’t come much better than that.
“I didn’t know if Copy That had won until I saw the photo - it was close but he got the job done.
“He’s a serious Grand Circuit horse now, up with the best of the best.
“We’ve just got to try to do it again next week.”
Copy That ran the 1660 metres of the Sunshine Sprint in 1:55.9, a mile rate of 1:52.4, the sectionals off the front in 27.5, 28.9, 28.5 and 27.6.
The A$59,850 winning stake for his 21st win took his earnings to A$584,597.
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Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Cambridge
Race 3: Lincoln Lou
“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”
Race 5: Commander Lincoln
“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”
Race 8: Onyx Shard
“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”
Race 8: Obadiah Dragon
“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”
Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll
“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”
Race 9: Frisco Bay
“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”
Mark Dux’s comments
Saturday night at Albion Park
Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time
“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”