Trainer Pat Webster will let his stable star Happy Clapper join in Winx’s farewell celebration in the 2019 Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on Day Two of The Championships on April 13.
Happy Clapper has been runner up to Winx on five previous occasions and Webster can’t see the eight year old changing the finishing positions in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes which has been earmarked as Winx’s last race track appearance.
“I know we are not going to beat Winx but I’d be proud if we ran second to her again,’’ Webster told The Daily Telegraph.
The Chris Waller trained Winx made it thirty-two wins in succession when she won her fourth straight Group 1 $1m The Agency George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill last Saturday while Happy Clapper was home in his stable and Webster said that it felt strange that ‘The Clapper’ wasn’t chasing her home again.
“I thought it was funny watching Winx race last week (George Ryder Stakes) and Happy Clapper wasn’t running second to her,” Webster said.
“I’d like to give him the chance to run against Winx in her last race.’’
Webster will bypass a chance for Happy Clapper to win back to back Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on Day One Of The Championships on April 6 after he was given the top weight of 59kg.
“If you could guarantee me Happy Clapper would draw inside five then he’d be running in the Doncaster,” Webster said.
“But if he draws 20, with that weight, he can’t win.
“I’d rather give him a nice easy trial on Friday and then we’ve got another two weeks to the Queen Elizabeth and hopefully he can run second to Winx again.”
Happy Clapper kicked off his Autumn Carnival campaign with a second to Winx in the Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 16 and then was runner up to the mighty mare again in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on March 2.
Happy Clapper then lines up as one of the top fancied in the $5m All-Star Mile (1600m) at Flemington on March 16 but failed to run a place when eighth to the Tasmanian trained filly Mystic Journey.
Webster thought something must have gone amiss for the consistent performer and later discovered that Happy Clapper had a degree of internal exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) that may have affected the horse’s performance.”
Webster said that Happy Clapper has completely recovered from the minor setback and was due to barrier trial at Randwick on Friday to gain a clearance to take his place in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Winx dominates the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at $1.10 ahead of her stablemate The Autumn Sun at $11, Ranvet Stakes winner Avilius at $12 and Happy Clapper at $15.
Early betting for the 2019 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.10 Winx, $11 The Autumn Sun, $12 Avilius, $15 Happy Clapper, $21 He’s Eminent, $26 Hartnell, $51 Ace High, Alizee, Aloisia, Danzdanzdance, Fifty Stars, Grunt, I Am Serious, Kaonic, Land Of Plenty, Madison County, Night’s Watch, Noble Mars, On The Rocks, Rekindling, Ringerdingding, Shillelagh, The Taj Mahal, Unforgotten, $67 or better the rest.