Form belies Happy’s hope
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
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.