Dwayne Dunn narrowly missed out on winning the 2013 Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on Happy Trails and he is looking forward to reuniting with the tough gelding during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Dunn rode Happy Trails for the first time when he finished fourth in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 21 last year before steering him to victory in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and a second place finish in the Cox Plate.
The veteran jockey has not won a Group 1 since his Turnbull Stakes win on Happy Trails, after missing the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival with an injury, and he told Racing Ahead that he is looking forward to partnering the rising seven-year-old in another spring preparation that will include a tilt at the Cox Plate.
“Trying to find a nice horse through the period is something that I have worked on as well,” Dunn said.
“All Too Hard it was hard to swallow giving him away, but there are a couple of nice horses coming through the stables now and hopefully I can get on board them.
“Happy Trails is back in work.
“He is quiet a funny story within himself because the three of us had to have some time off; himself through injury, Paul (Beshara) as was well documented and myself through injury.
“I look forward to him coming back and he has been on the slow recovery.
“It shouldn’t be too long until we see him back on the racetrack.”
Dunn underwent back surgery in January after he was forced to stop riding due to a bulging disk in his back and the injury kept him away from the races until April.
The Group 1 winning hoop said that the back problem will be an issue for him for the rest of his riding career, but be believes that he has it under control and is hoping that he will never have to miss such a large chunk of racing again.
“It is an injury that is getting no worse, which is a plus, but it is an injury that will always be there for me to manage,” Dunn said.
“It is just something that I need to deal with and fingers crossed it has been manageable at the moment.
“Hopefully it doesn’t reoccur and I won’t have to have as long off again as it is very hard sitting on the sidelines.”
Happy Trails is currently on the fifth line of the 2014 Cox Plate betting market at Ladbrokes Australia and is available at odds of $15 to win the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.