Copy That enjoys a lazy afternoon before embarking on his New Zealand Cup campaign. PHOTO: Trish Dunell.

Ray’s pair ‘ready to go’ but Ashburton runs are mere belt-tighteners for the main event

Copy That and American Dealer are nicely primed for their missions at Ashburton on Monday ahead of their flight south on Thursday.

Copy That starts from the outside of the front row in the standing start Ashburton Flying Stakes (2400m) while American Dealer fared much better drawing the pole for the fifth Sires’ Stakes heat, his main rival Krug widest in the seven-horse field.

Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green gave the pair strong hitouts at Pukekohe last Wednesday and reported both worked well.

Copy That looked good running 2400 metres in 3:08, sprinting his last 800 in 56.

“He had a big, heavy cart on so it was good work.

“The other fella didn’t go quite that hard but he did what I wanted.”

The pair trained together this morning without being asked for much.

“There’s not much I can do between now and Ashburton - they’re ready to go and I’m happy with where they’re at.

“Copy That’s main mission is the cup, of course, and this Ashburton run is just a lead-up, a glorified training run. But it’s the first time he’s run into the All Stars’ horses and they’re obviously the ones to beat.

“It will give us an idea of how competitive we are.”

The Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen juggernaut lines up New Zealand Cup favourite Self Assured, second favourite Spankem and recent Australian arrival Ashley Locaz.

Waikato horseman David Butcher will continue his association with American Dealer in the Sires’ Stakes heat, drawn to get all favours either in the lead or trail.

The only other serious prospect, the All Stars’ It’s All About Faith, is alongside him in gate two in the mobile mile.

Copy That is the $6 third favourite for the $540,000 IRT New Zealand Trotting Cup on November 10 while American Dealer is the $7.50 third favourite for the $150,000 Woodlands Stud Sires’ Stakes Final the same day.

How they line up in Monday’s features at Ashburton:

Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

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

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.”

Race Images - Harness