Trainer Paul Beshara is confident that Happy Trails can win the 2015 Australian Cup when he returns to his favourite track for the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Happy Trails has produced strong performances at racetracks right around Australia, but the veteran gelding has an excellent record at Flemington and recorded all three of his wins at Group 1 level at the home of the Victorian Racing Club.
The Good Journey gelding started his autumn campaign with strong performances at Caulfield in both the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) on February 14 and the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) on February 28 and Beshara told Racing Ahead that the seven-year-old is ready to peak third-up in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) this weekend.
“He likes that long straight and that sweeping bend,” Beshara said.
“With that long straight he can wind up, he’s got a good turn of foot and at Flemington, he’s got the whole straight to do it.
“I’m always confident with him and in my eyes I’m very positive
“I don’t put horses in races to lose, I always feel they can win.”
Happy Trails was included in the first acceptances for both the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) that were released by Racing New South Wales yesterday and Beshara confirmed that both races were still on the agenda for Happy Trails after he runs in the Australian Cup.
“There’s a three-week gap from the Australian Cup to the Doncaster, so he’ll just have a nice easy week and then we’ll head up to Sydney on the 25th about a week-and-a-half before the Doncaster,” Beshara said.
“As you know with the Doncaster 1600 you want a good 2000m horse to win it anyway.
“He should be freshened up nice for that and that should make him cherry ripe for the Queen Elizabeth.”
Happy Trails will be returning to Sydney for the first time since the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival where he finished tenth behind Sacred Falls in the Doncaster Mile and a strong third behind Reliable Man and It’s A Dundeel in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The popular galloper will be partnered by Damien Oliver in the Australian Cup and the leading hoop has the chance to become the first jockey since Craig Newitt in 2007 to win the Australian Cup in back-to-back years after winning the race with Fiorente in 2014.
Happy Trails is currently available at 2015 Australian Cup odds of $6.50 with Ladbrokes and is on the third line of betting from Hartnell ($5) and Protectionist ($5.50).