Adelaide trainer Paul Beshara will concentrate on preparing Happy Trails for Saturday’s Group 1 $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield as he awaits the results of blood tests following the controversial scratching at Moonee Valley last Saturday.
Stewards withdraw Happy Trails from the Group 2 $300,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) after two members from the Compliance Assurance Team reported finding what appeared to be a needle mark on the neck of Happy Trails on Saturday morning.
Beshara denies administering any treatment to the six year old on race day but chief steward Terry Bailey ordered blood tests and the scratching from the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes, denying him a chance to win the feature race back to back.
“When the blood test comes back negative that’ll prove it,” Beshara told The Advertiser.
“I’ve got nothing to hide.
“I’m 100 per cent confident it will come back negative.”
Beshara was forced to give Happy Trails a hard gallop on Sunday morning to keep him in tune to run on Saturday against a classy field in the Underwood Stakes and ultimately onto the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
“The horse was cherry-ripe for the race,” Beshara said.
“He’s that well I had to gallop him (Sunday) morning.
“I’ve got to make up for the missed run, so he’ll go to the Underwood Stakes now.”
Stewards will wait for the results of the swab tests taken from Happy Trails before proceeding any further with their investigation.
Beshara was certain that Happy Trails was ready to perform at his best after two unplaced runs this time in and was also looking forward to seeing comeback jockey Damien Oliver reunite with him after the pair took out the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington at the end of the last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Happy Trails finished fifth as favourite in the Group 3 $115,000 Adelaide Galvanising Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on August 10 and then was beaten three and a half lengths when seventh to Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 $350,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 31.
The Underwood Stakes is shaping up as a very high quality weight for age race with Foreteller and Puissance De Lune likely to clash again after finishing first and second in the Group 1 $350,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 7.
And Mark Kavanagh is seriously considering backing up his super mare Atlantic Jewel after she had no more than a track gallop in winning the Group 2 $220,000 Top Cut Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley last Saturday.