Ray: How will they beat Copy That? And look out for Line Up who was huge on the clock
“All things being equal I can’t see how they’ll beat him.”
Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green doesn’t mince his words when he sums up how he thinks Copy That will go in Saturday night’s Group II $50,000 Alabar Classic at Alexandra Park.
Drawn two, Copy That is beautifully placed to get the run of the race and, after the demolition job he turned on last week from the second row, it’s hard to argue with Green.
Copy That was never out of second gear in the Northern Stakes after shooting to the front at the 1500 metres and driver David Butcher didn’t even activate the removable deafeners because he had the field covered.
It was an impressive all round display from Copy That who paced the 2200 metres in a sizzling 2:39.2, his last 800 in 55.1.
Green says Copy That has thrived since the race.
“They all trained this morning (Copy That, Line Up and Hampton Banner) and Copy That was travelling the best at the finish.
“But they all went well and the other two (both by Bettor’s Delight) don’t put in until they hear the tote bells ringing.”
Green is expecting a top run by Line Up, in particular, on Saturday night.
While the bare result shows he ran last of the nine runners in the Northern Stakes, Line Up actually paced a terrific race, with the fastest closing sectionals of 54 flat and 26.6. Copy That recorded 55.1 and 26.6.
Forced back to last from his wide gate, Line Up was still at the rear and four wide when mounting his run turning for home and really hit his straps down the stretch.
And driver Anthony Butt reported he had a real job trying to pull the horse up down the back straight.
Green says Line Up, who was officially timed to run his last mile in 1:54.1, was simply “a victim of circumstances.”
Line Up has again drawn wide but expect Butt to put him into the picture at some stage on Friday night.
“He’s definitely a chance,” says Green. “I don’t think there’s anything between the pair.”
While Hampton Banner will struggle to compete with his stablemates he, too, ran out of his skin last week, clocking sectionals of 54.8 and 26.6 in running sixth after being snookered four deep at the bell.
Dropping to easier grade
Lincoln Farms’ two other runners on the night are both for Copy That’s Australian owner Merv Butterworth, Ace Commander (race 10) and The Empress (race 1) both dropping into a much easier grade.
The form digits say Ace Commander ran only sixth last week but against far superior opposition he was in a close three-way line-up for fourth, with Renezmae and Havehorsewilltravel.
After stepping smartly from his 20 metre handicap, Ace Commander was first four deep, then five deep on the markers, before being extricated down the back straight the last time.
He was pushed four wide round the turn and trotted home strongly to be only 2.3 lengths from winner Circus Boy.
On Saturday, as a rating 66 horse, he runs in a small field for rating 50 to 68 trotters.
The Empress will also find the opening event, for rating 50 to 66 pacers, a huge drop on the mares she faced in last week’s Northern Breeders’ Stakes.
Green says he saw little point in being “cannon fodder” for Belle Of Montana and co again in the Queen Of Hearts, and believes The Empress can get some of the money on Friday.
Driver Blair Orange reported The Empress had been travelling well last week, three back on the markers, until the leaders sprinted on the home turn when “she was left floundering and paced roughly.”
“She doesn’t get round the corners as well as you’d like but Blair said she never quit and was holding her own.”
Drawn three on the second row, The Empress will however need her share of luck.
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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.”