Happy Trails will return to racing in the 2015 Orr Stakes and trainer Paul Beshara admits that he is unsure whether his star galloper can win the Group 1 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Happy Trails has only recorded one win from nine first-up starts, when he took out the 2012 edition of the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m), but he will be resuming over 1400 metres for the first time in his racing career.
Beshara is normally optimistic about the chances of Happy Trails, but he told Sky Racing HQ that the Good Journey gelding may need to get over a bit more distance before he returns to his best form this preparation.
“It is very hard to say,” Beshara said when asked about Happy Trail’s Orr Stakes chances.
“He has won first-up and that, but as he has gotten older I think that he might need a bit more distance.
“This is the first time that he has come in with a 1400 first-up and if things go his way you never know.”
While Beshara is unsure whether Happy Trails can defeat his rivals in the 2015 Orr Stakes field, he is happy with the condition of the seven-year-old ahead of his return to racing at Caulfield this weekend.
Happy Trails competed in an exhibition galloper alongside Orr Stakes rival Mouro at Morphettville on Saturday and Beshara said that he was happy with the way the triple Group 1 winner worked and recovered from the testing gallop.
“I told them to improve a second each furlong in the last three and they did it in about 34,” Beshara said.
“It was a very hot day, but we has recovered alright.
“We are lucky here because straight after his gallop I hosed him off and put him straight on the water walker for about ten minutes and that cooled him right down and cooled his legs off.
“I brought him home and wiped him with ice water for a while and he recovered really good.”
Happy Trails is likely to step-up to 1800 metres for the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28 before he contests the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14.
Happy Trails is currently available at 2015 Orr Stakes odds of $15 with Ladbrokes, while Dissident ($3.10) is a clear favourite from Petrology ($6.50), Java ($8) and Entirely Platinum ($11).