Trainer Paul Beshara has revealed that Happy Trails will have to run well in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday to warrant a start in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Beshara is typically confident about Happy Trails’ chances heading into big races and believes the six-year-old will run well this weekend but is realistic that he will have to perform strongly to have any chance in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 25.
“He will run really well,” Beshara told Racing Ahead on RSN .
“To warrant a start in the Cox Plate he has to run well this week in the Turnbull.
“I would like him to run in the first three and I think that he will.”
Happy Trails finished an impressive fourth in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield last Saturday, after missing out on a run in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) due to allegations he had been treated on race day, and Beshara said he was delighted with the Good Journey gelding’s performance in the race.
“He wasn’t supposed to be going to that race, he was supposed to be going to the Dato, but after circumstances the way they worked out we went into the Underwood,” Beshara said.
“We lost ground on the turn coming into the straight but he made up good ground and right on the line was finishing the best in the race.”
Happy Trails has had three different riders in each of his race starts this preparation but Dwayne Dunn is set to maintain the ride on Saturday.
The leading jockey partnered Happy Trails in trackwork this morning and Beshara said that he was very happy with the effort.
“He has worked well this morning,” the Adelaide-based trainer said.
“Dwayne Dunn came down and worked him and will ride him in the Turnbull on Saturday.
“He worked over a mile and ran his last 600m in 37 seconds and last 400m in 23 seconds.
“It was good work for him but the track was fast.”
Happy Trails will be contesting the Turnbull Stakes for the second time in his career after he finished fifth behind Green Moon in the 2012 edition of the race.