Gilt-edged chance for Clap­per

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - RAY THOMAS

HAPPY Clap­per is left with only nine op­po­nents and a gilt­edged op­por­tu­nity to fi­nally break through at Group 1 level in the $1 mil­lion TAB Ep­som Hand­i­cap (1600m) at Rand­wick to­day.

The scratch­ings of sec­ond favourite Egg Tart, I Am A Star, Em­b­ley and He’s Our Rokkii has re­duced the Ep­som field to just 10 starters — the small­est since Rac­ing To Win also won a 10-horse Ep­som in 2006.

There hasn’t been a smaller field con­test an Ep­som since 1878 when Vis­count beat only six ri­vals. And it’s a far cry from the big­gest Ep­som field on re- cord — 38 starters in 1913 when Al­cecon­ner won.

The Pat Web­ster-trained Happy Clap­per, who will come out of bar­rier two after the scratch­ings, has now firmed into $2.60 favourite with and could even start shorter on track.

Form ex­pert Nathan Snow from Cham­pi­ons Bets con- ceded “there is def­i­nitely a dif­fer­ent feel about the Ep­som this year”.

“A less-than-ca­pac­ity field, but also a field with lim­ited win­ning chances and a long tail to it, which makes it un­like most of the big Rand­wick mile races,’’ Snow said.

“I think the race should be run at an aver­age tempo with Red Ex­cite­ment likely lead­ing but with Sound Propo­si­tion, Comin’ Through and Fox­play drawn wide gates push­ing for­ward to keep it hon­est.

“But this makes Happy Clap­per clear top pick for me. ’’

Snow said Happy Clap­per has su­perbly han­dled through­out its ca­reer by Web­ster, who has been able to im­prove the seven-year-old geld­ing ev­ery prepa­ra­tion.

“Happy Clap­per tri­alled re­ally well as al­ways be­fore re­sum­ing with an out­stand­ing win, sprint­ing fast off a slow pace to beat Tom Mel­bourne,’’ Snow said of Happy Clap­per’s Tramway Stakes win.

“Then sec­ond up, he gave Winx the race of her life.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.