Patrick Webster’s veteran miler Happy Clapper kicks off another Doncaster Mile campaign this Saturday racing first-up at Royal Randwick in the Group 1 $500,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m).
The always-honest son of Teofilo continues to show a zest for racing according to Webster who is as happy as ever with the seven-year-old heading into this year’s Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Webster spoke to Racing Victoria on Tuesday morning after Happy Clapper put in a solid trial performance back on February 27 when second to Houtzen over 1050m on a wet Randwick track.
“I always thought he’d be better at seven. I’m not going to say he won’t be as good at eight,” Webster said.
“I think with the Teofilo breed, if you give them time… and don’t forget, Clapper had 12 months in the paddock.
“An injury gives a horse time to mature. He wouldn’t have got it had he not hurt himself, so it might have been a blessing in disguise.”
Happy Clapper has amassed close to $3.6 million in prize money over a 31 start career thanks to a host of consistent runs in Group 1 company.
The horse has raced in elite level company 13 times previously including four seconds and a breakthrough Group 1 success in the Epsom Handicap (1600m) last September.
In both 2016 and 2017 Happy Clapper finished runner-up in the Group 1 $3 million Doncaster Mile (1600m) behind champion mare Winx and It’s Somewhat respectively.
The Doncaster Mile is again on the autumn agenda for the gelding on April 7 during Randwick’s ‘The Championships’ with Webster keen to get his stable ace back to his pet track and distance.
“He loves the mile at Randwick. The worst he’s ever finished there was fourth in an Epsom when he had a nasty setback,” he said.
Webster will engage the same autumn preparation he did back in 2016 with Happy Clapper this year, starting with Saturday’s Canterbury Stakes that the horse pays $5 as the early favourite to win.
Two years ago the galloper was a first-up fourth in the weight-for-age race before a fifth to Winx in the Group 1 $1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
He looks set to clash with the world’s best mare again in this season’s George Ryder on Golden Slipper Day, March 24, in a final Doncaster lead-up.
“He’ll run Saturday; we’ll look at the George Ryder, Doncaster and the Queen Elizabeth and out to the paddock for the spring,” Webster confirmed.
The Group 1 $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) runs just seven days after the Doncaster Mile and is an event Happy Clapper rounded out the trifecta in when third to Lucia Valentina in 2016.
He also finished fifth to Winx in the race last year.
Current all-in Doncaster Mile odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Happy Clapper as the $13 third favourite behind the gun three-year-olds Kementari ($6.50) and D’Argento ($11).
In-form Godolphin-raced Lonhro colt Kementari chases his third win on the trot this weekend jumping favourite in the Group 1 $1 million Randwick Guineas (1600m).
He comes off a lead-up victory at Rosehill in the Group 2 $400,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) and now looks to complete a double last achieved by Hallowed Crown (2015).