Happy Trails will return to Sydney racing in the 2015 Doncaster Mile and trainer Paul Beshara is happy with his star galloper heading into the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Happy Trails started his 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign with a promising sixth in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 14 and he was backed into favouritism for the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14 after he finished second in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28.
Jockey Damien Oliver was forced to settle Happy Trails towards the tail of the field in the early stages of the Australian Cup and the Good Journey gelding hit the line strongly, but was no match for Spillway or Extra Zero in the final stages of the race.
Beshara told Racing Ahead this morning that he was happy with the Australian Cup effort of Happy Trails and he said that the seven-year-old had trained on strongly heading into the 2015 Doncaster Mile this weekend.
“He got back a fair way, but it was his third run in and he ground home alright,” Beshara said.
“The track was very hard for him, but he has done really well since then.
“He had a week on the water walker straight after the Australian Cup and that just freshened him up lovely.
“I brought him straight up here and he has only had the one gallop.
“He is enjoying it up here, we have had him up here for a week and a half now to get him use to everything.
“He handles everything and he is just a very professional horse.
“He has been around the traps long enough.
“It was a good effort.
“He will do the 1600 metres easy.”
Happy Trails has also been included in the first acceptances for the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick next Saturday and Beshara confirmed that the veteran galloper would back-up in the $4 million race next weekend.
The seven-year-old has previously performed well off a quick back-up, winning the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) after running in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) a week earlier in the spring, and Beshara is more optimistic about the chances of Happy Trails in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“I am more confident about the following week because he backs up well,” Beshara said.
“He likes having a run and he is at his best when he gets to back up the following Saturday.”
Happy Trails is currently available at 2015 Doncaster Mile odds of $17 with Ladbrokes, while Hallowed Crown ($6) remains a narrow favourite from Real impact ($7), Kermadec ($7) and Pornichet ($8).