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New NZ Cup favourite Copy That powers home in 26 flat, feeling enormous

Copy That, the new outright favourite for the New Zealand Trotting Cup, felt enormous in his workout at Pukekohe today, according to driver Maurice McKendry.

Given a quiet run in preparation for Friday night’s $22,500 Spring Cup (2200m) at Alexandra Park, Copy That tootled along at the rear of the four-horse heat and did not pull out to challenge until the run home.

“I told Maurice he didn’t need to be drilled,” said trainer Ray Green.

“They didn’t go hard and Maurice said he was eating up the ground at the finish. He clocked him to run his last quarter in 26 flat.”

The 2500 metre heat was won by pacemaker On The Cards in 3:16.6, a mile rate of 2:06.5, the pace going on only over the last 800 in 56.7 and 26.7.

He beat home trailing stablemate Belle Of Montana by three-quarters of a length with another length to Copy That, who ran past Mach Shard.

“It was a perfect run for him and he’s in good shape for Friday.”

Green said he still could not say whether Copy That would stay in the north for the $22,500 Holmes DG (2700m) on October 9 or travel south.

“A lot will depend on IRT and the planes. There are no flights at the moment. You can fly them to Sydney but not Christchurch.”

Green said he was working with IRT, the new sponsor of the $540,000 cup on November 10, to solve the problem.

Green said a decision would be left as late as possible to try to avoid a long road trek south.

Green wasn’t surprised to hear Copy That had been promoted to $2.50 favourite for the 3200 metre feature after the defection of Self Assured from Sunday’s Hannon Memorial because of sore feet.

Punters were already getting wary of backing the All Stars’ hero after he completely muffed the standing start at Addington last Tuesday and was pulled up.

“He’s obviously getting stressed out at the start. He’s a very good horse and will take some beating in the cup but, if he doesn’t step, he’ll be in trouble.

“Copy That stepped beautifully today - he’s so well gaited it’s easy for him to step into a pace.”

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Al Barnes

Al’s comments

Tuesday at Albion Park

Race 8: Man Of Action
7.38pm NZ time

“He’s come through his win last week really well and should run first or second again from another good draw. Soho Tsunami will be a big danger. He’ll get a good trip on our back.”

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 1: Apieceoflou
6.19pm

“He’s just been incredibly unlucky - he was knocked over at the start last time - but if things go his way we’ll see a better animal.”

Race 1: Captain Nemo
6.19pm

“If he gets the right trip from five, he’ll be right there at the finish. This is little more than a jumped up maiden race.”

Race 4: Tommy Lincoln
7.39pm

“He’s in a grade now where he can’t get away with being driven like a toe rag all the time and from the second row he’s obligated to have a much more conservative trip. He’ll need a bit of luck but, if he’s not put in the race too soon, he shouldn’t be too far away.”

Race 7: Revitalise
8.59pm

“I’ve scratched him. He’s recovering from a foot abscess.”

Anthony Butt

Ants’ comments

Friday night at Melton

Race 1: Make Way
7.33pm NZ time

“He pushed them over the line last week and felt really good - he was only jogging at the finish. The (seven) draw has killed our hopes a bit but you never know …”

Al Barnes

Al’s comments

Friday at Albion Park

Race 5: Larry Lincoln
10.18pm NZ time

“We’ll drive him quietly on Friday, just hold our position out of the gate, and give him some confidence. It’s not a strong field - it’s a bit of a drop in class on what he’s been racing - and on the times he’s been running in training this week he should be winning.”

Saturday night at Albion Park

Race 3: Northview Hustler
9.48pm NZ time

“His run last week was exceptional. His chances depend on how the race is run. With the one and three horses having gate speed there could be early fireworks, which would suit him, as we’ll probably drive him the same and use his speed late.”

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Sunday at Cambridge

Race 6: Bondi Shake
5.47pm

“He would have won had he not galloped close to home last time. He just turned his head to one side when he got alongside that other horse and might have touched a knee. We’ll rectify that by putting two poles on him.”

Monday at Ashburton

Race 5: American Dealer
2.27pm

“From the pole, he should get a perfect trip. It’s hard to know what the others will do but we get out well enough to be handy. He’ll go well but he’s already qualified for the final so there’s no urgency. It would be nice to win it but we don’t have to.”

Race 7: Copy That
3.37pm

“He’s never gone away badly from a stand - he’s always reasonable and safe - so he shouldn’t be far off them when they settle. I see him in midfield. I’m not expecting too much from him. So long as he goes well, I’ll be happy.”

Dan Costello Race Photography