Jockey Brenton Avdulla is sticking with his decision to ride favourite Happy Clapper in the Group 2 $250,000 Inglis Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Avdulla has been the regular rider for both Happy Clapper and the Gerald Ryan trained Red Excitement but has decided to stick with the Pat Webster trained five year old.
Happy Clapper is stepping up sharply in class after winning a 1200m BenchMark 85 Handicap at Rosehill on October 24 followed by a 1500m BenchMark 85 Handicap at Rosehill a fortnight ago with Avdulla aboard.
Avdulla has also been the regular rider for Red Excitement for the last two years, including his last start fifth to Mighty Lucky in the Listed $150,000 Sky Thoroughbred Central Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on November 28.
But Avdulla has gone for the in-form Happy Clapper who has to carry only 53kg, dropping 7.5kg on his last start win.
“He’s an up-and-coming horse and he’s on the minimum,” Avdulla told AAP.
“He drops from 60-and-a-half kilograms last start to 53 on Saturday, he’s two from two this preparation and I just think he’ll be very hard to beat.”
Ladbrokes.com.au have installed Happy Clapper as the $4.60 favourite for the Villiers Stakes while Red Excitement is at the double figure odds of $19.
Kerrin McEvoy takes over on Red Excitement who drew the outside barrier in the twenty horse field while Avdulla will be able to give Happy Clapper a nice run from barrier six.
Webster is pleased with the way Happy Clapper has progressed through the grades and said that he is ready to be tested in better company.
“I think that he is at his best,” Webster said.
“He is stepping up to the 1600 and we are fully confident that 1600 is going to be his pet distance.
“He has been very well-placed and Dad has programmed the horse from his very first start.
“He has put him in the races suitable and we could find out more about him.
“Whether it is Saturday or another day, I definitely believe that the horse has the ability to win a nice race.
Villiers Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.60 Happy Clapper, $7 Telepathic, $9 God’s In Him, $10 It’s Somewhat, Frespanol, $12 Puccini, $13 Zanbagh, $15 Malice, $17 Casino Dancer, $19 Red Excitement, $21 Rhythm To Spare, Mighty Lucky, $26 Tinto, $34 Ninth Legion, $34 I’m Imposing, $41 Timeless Prince, Moral Victory, $81 Pheidon, $126 Keepit To Yourself, $151 Dream Folk.
If you fancy a runner in the Villiers Stakes, take advantage of Ladbrokes Special Offer. Ladbrokes.com.au are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on the Villiers Stakes this Saturday, which means you can get an additional 20% on your winnings up to a maximum bet of.$50.