When Auckland trainer Ray Green thinks about what might lay ahead for Copy That in the next year he feels even more relieved he has had both his Covid vaccination shots.
The 73-year-old admits he doesn't know quite where his stable star is going to be taking him, after one of the most satisfying nights of his career when Copy That and American Dealer both won Group races at Albion Park in Brisbane, continuing a superb strike rate during Green's winter campaign.
Copy That held off dual Miracle Mile champion King Of Swing, who used to be trained by Green, in the A$100,000 Sunshine Sprint, while earlier in the night American Dealer defied his usual racing pattern to sit three wide the last lap to win the South East Queensland Derby.
The dual victories continued an amazing winter for the small team of New Zealand pacers at the carnival as they have won at least one major Group race every week for a month.
Copy That looks to be getting stronger and was able to sit parked, control the tempo and still kick clear at the top of the straight to beat King Of Swing.
The concentrated diet of racing in Australia seems to have honed his fitness and he looks certain to return to New Zealand a more well-rounded horse after next Saturday's A$250,000 Blacks A Fake in which he will clash with King Of Swing again.
But Green says while Copy That will have a short break, he will wait to see how the proposed changes to the New Zealand open-class calendar pan out before advising Victorian-based owner Merv Butterworth which way to steer Copy That.
"The New Zealand Cup is an obvious target but we want to see what happens with the stake with all the changes they are talking about back home," Green told the Herald.
"Merv has already told me he is keen on the biggest races in Perth too but I don't think he is too worried about the Inter Dominions [New South Wales].
"And then we have Melbourne in the summer and have to work out where the Auckland Cup [expected to move to May] ends up."
With American Dealer racing so well Green has serious horses to aim at lucrative races but like everybody realises the world has changed and as he is, in his own words, "no spring chicken" he is pleased he was able to get both his vaccination shots before heading to Queensland.
"I wanted to travel as safe as possible but also have a good case to be able to come home if we got stuck here," he explains.
"And with so many states in bad positions over here you realise how quickly things can change and how important it is to be vaccinated and protected as much as you can be."
While the draw for the Blacks A Fake race will be crucial, Copy That has developed so much he will now be a key player in any major race and is already the $3.20 TAB favourite for the NZ Cup in November.
Owner Butterworth put a $1 million price tag on Copy That when agents inquired whether he was for sale to North America last week.
Draws could also tell the story of this Saturday's Queensland Derby in which American Dealer will take on fellow Kiwi pacer Krug.
American Dealer has been outstanding in his last two wins and has beaten Krug before but will struggle to repeat that should the latter draw inside him for the classic.
Auckland Cup winner Amazing Dream continued her love-hate relationship with punters in the A$100,000 mares race on Saturday night when she was beaten into third, the fourth major mares race she has lost when odds-on in the last eight months, yet she routinely wins Group 1 open-class races like the Auckland Cup and last week's Rising Sun.