Trainer Pat Webster is happy for his stable star Happy Clapper to play second fiddle to champion mare Winx in Saturday’s Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
Winx will be seeking her twentieth-consecutive race win when she takes her place in the George Main Stakes field third-up on Saturday, while Happy Clapper is looking to build off an impressive first-up run and win in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago.
Webster had considered dodging the equine superstar and accepting into the field for the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) on the George Main Stakes card, but believes that the horse will be better off running in the feature race.
“We will definitely run in the George Main,’’ Webster told News Corp.
“If you did the sums, it was $84,000 to the winner in the Bill Ritchie and he would have had to carry about 60kg on a 53kg limit.
“But the George Main is weight-for-age and a more suitable race for Happy Clapper. We will cruise around behind Winx and what will happen, happens. It is $94,000 for second.
“At the end of the day, we just paddle our own canoe. As long as he gets through the race in good order, we will be happy.
“There is still improvement in him and this race will have him spot on for the Epsom Handicap at the end of the month.’’
Happy Clapper has crossed paths with Winx several times in recent seasons, but is understandably yet to beat the eleven-time Group 1 champion past the post.
The Teofilo gelding first met Winx in the 2016 edition of the George Ryder Stakes (1500m), but finished close to six lengths behind the mare in fifth.
Running a credible second behind Winx in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) a fortnight later, Happy Clapper only met the mare once more in 2016; his commendable sixth-place finish in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate.
The 2017 George Main Stakes field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday (September 13th).
Happy Clapper is currently perched on the third line of early 2017 George Main Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, at a generous $16 quote.