With all that gear on Copy That looks like he’s from Mars but could he be a shooting star?
Some radical gear changes helped enigmatic two-year-old Copy That show his true ability at today’s Pukekohe workouts.
And trainer Ray Green may now start the unpredictable colt at Auckland on Friday night along with his two-year-old stablemates Sir Tiger and Double Or Nothing who both trialled well.
Copy That has tested trainer Ray Green’s patience on numerous occasions, mainly with his habit of breaking on the same corner at Pukekohe during his trials and workouts.
But today newly sporting peek a boo blinkers, two head poles and a mini bit, Copy That was on his best behaviour.
After trailing fifth in his seven-horse heat, driver Zachary Butcher started a move down the back straight on Copy That who showed good speed to gather in the leaders three wide, and maintain a sprint in the run home to grab a half head win over Flying Finn.
And afterwards Butcher had a lot to say about the performance - all of it good for a change.
“He never put a foot wrong and steered right,’’ Butcher said.
“I let him take his time and just flop round early. And I wanted him to get round the final turn doing it on his on terms too.
“I clocked him home in 56 and 27.4 and if I’d run him round the bend he’d have run 27.’’
Butcher reported his whip also became entangled in Copy That’s tail when he gave him a flick early in the run home.
Butcher said Copy That’s time for the 2050 metres of 2:36.6 (mile rate 2:02.9) showed he was ready to go.
“If I hadn’t known anything about the horse I’d have said he’s not far away from winning a race.’’
Green didn’t think going left-handed today was a factor in the American Ideal colt not galloping, rather pointing to all the gear changes he’d made.
“He’s definitely got some speed but he needs manners as well. Today’s the first time he’s got round at the workouts this time in without breaking.’’
Green revealed he and wife Debbie had turned down a solid offer for Copy That five months ago after he won two trials. And another agent called during the week to see if the colt was for sale.
“But I told them he’s not ready to be sold as he has a few greenness issues to address. He’s got a bit more speed than Sir Tiger and hopefully he turns out to be as tough as him.’’
One who doesn’t have a greenness problem is Sir Tiger who is the consummate professional.
Sir Tiger trailed third in the same heat today for driver Andrew Drake who never pulled the horse off Copy That’s back in the run home, finishing fourth, two lengths from the winner.
Sir Tiger will race on Friday night before going south to Christchurch for two feature races at Addington:
- The $170,000 Sires’ Stakes Final on May 17 and
- The $150,000 Two-Year-Old Emerald at the Harness Jewels. Sir Tiger sits 10th in the qualifying order for the Jewels.
Double Or Nothing, 11th in the order, wasn’t asked for too much today, after a searching workout when second last week.
Driver Andre Poutama kept him second last in the running of the non winners’ 2050 metre heat and he was last and three wide turning for home.
“He got home really well,’’ said Poutama. “And he kept coming.’’
Double Or Nothing was fifth at the post, winner Vespa nosing out Sole Ambition in 2:38.6, home in 59.5 and 28.3.
Green was very pleased with the performance of Billy Lincoln who won the learners’ heat over 2050 metres.
It was the two-year-old’s first workout and first look at the mobile gate and when he proved hesitant at first to move up to the gate, Butcher thought ’Oh oh, here we go’.
“But when the gate went he came out so fast it was like he was tied to it,’’ Butcher said.
“He showed a bit of speed and I was rapt with how he went for a big two-year-old.’’
Billy Lincoln led throughout and staved off a determined challenge by Mimi E Coco, a Mach Three-Molly Darling filly, to get the decision by a nose.
Green says Billy Lincoln has taken a bit of time to come to it but being by Bettor’s Delight would just keep improving.
Billy Lincoln’s grand dam Armbro Innocence won 15 races so he has the pedigree to succeed.
More news in Harness
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Pukekohe workout pointers: Lincoln Farms’ team bring their A game - even the bad boy
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Auckland
Race 4: Copy That
“He’s certainly got some speed. The race was all over by the time he got going last week and James never pulled the plugs. Clearly he’s the best horse in the field on ability. But there are no guarantees he’ll behave.’’
Race 4: Tommy Lincoln
“He’s trialling well but I won’t be expecting too much from gate six. He was a big, gangly, weak thing but he’s strengthened up a lot this time in.”
Race 4: Billy Lincoln
“It’s his first race, and first time away from Pukekohe and he’s drawn the inside of the second row so logic tells you he has a few things against him. Until six weeks ago he was extremely average but he’s progressively got better and better.”
Race 8: Governor’s Bay
“He had a tough trip last time so it wasn’t surprising he weakened. He’s training well and this field looks a lot easier.”
Friday at Albion Park
Race 1: Lincoln’s Girl
2.42pm NZ time
“It’s not a bad field but she’s as good as anything else in there and looks a top two chance with a little luck from the second row. She went super last time - I didn’t know how brave she’d be when I saw her caught in the chair but Hayden was very happy with how she went.”
Race 9: Vasari
7.22pm NZ time
“He should get out a lot better this week with Hayden back driving and we’ll be trying to cross the pole marker. The horse is really well and he’ll win one soon. It’s a good line-up but he should run top three.’’
Saturday night at Menangle
Race 7: Lets Strike The Gold
10.22pm NZ time
“This is a difficlut race for him to win and I’ll be driving him quietly from that barrier. It’s been nearly nine months since he raced and he’s going to need a couple of runs to get his race fitness.”