Form be­lies Happy’s hope

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - BY MATT JONES

ON pa­per pun­ters will be think­ing Happy Clap­per isn’t ef­fec­tive at 2000m, but trainer Pat Web­ster knows they’ll change their minds if they watch the re­plays of his runs at dis­tance.

The Ep­som Hand­i­cap win­ner will have his fi­nal run of the spring in to­mor­row’s $2m Group 1 Emi­rates Stakes (2000m) at Flem­ing­ton.

“Clap­per’s good and it’s about time we drew a good al­ley (5) again,” Web­ster said.

“You can go to the well once too many times but they’re in the pad­dock a long time and he wouldn’t be there if we weren’t happy

with him.”

The seven-year-old is com­ing off a rough run in the Cox Plate where he jos­tled with Royal Sym­phony for a po­si­tion be­fore fin­ish­ing sixth to Winx.

This will be Happy Clap­per’s sev­enth at­tempt at a 2000m race and be­fore to­mor­row he’s man­aged sec­ond third from six starts.

But, like he did in the Cox Plate, was still hit­ting line strongly most of his 2000m races and Web­ster said to for­get his ninth plac­ing in the Mackin­non Stakes over same course and dis­tance last year.

“I wouldn’t keep run­ning him over 2000m if I didn’t think he could win,” Web­ster said. “He’ll run a very good race. His work has been good, he’s on his feed. We haven’t done a lot with him.” The seven-year-old didn’t stay in Mel­bourne af­ter his Cox Plate run. Web­ster wanted him to get back into his com­fort zone ahead of an­ther bug Group 1 as­sign­ment.

“Him and his trainer like sleep­ing in their own bed,” Web­ster said.

“He’s re­ally happy in his own en­vi­ron­ment.”

Blake Shinn is back on Happy Clap­per af­ter a con­tro­ver­sial ride on him two starts back when fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the Craven Plate as a hot favourite.

Shinn made a cou­ple of er­rors in the run­ning that day but Web­ster said he’s too good to do it again and his rid­ing since has been world class.

“I’m happy to have Blake back on. He’s rid­ing in ter­rific form.” Web­ster said.

Mean­while, James Cum­mings will line up Don­caster win­ner It’s Some­what and he’s com­ing off a nice third­place to Lucky Hus­sler in the Crys­tal Mile at Mooney Val­ley.

He said with­out Winx in the race it’s an open event.

“It’s Some­what has the op­por­tu­nity to grow a leg here third-up, com­ing from a very fast-run Water­ford Crys­tal Mile,” Cum­mings said.

“He held down third re­ally boldly in that race and there’s good im­prove­ment in the horse and he’s shown he can run a strong 2000m at weight-for-age.

“He ar­rives here on fresh legs and he’s also very fit, he’s im­proved phys­i­cally.”

Pat Web­ster with sta­ble star Happy Clap­per, win­ner of the Ep­som Hand­i­cap (inset), one of the top chances in to­mor­row’s Emi­rates Stakes.

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