The Pat Webster trained Happy Clapper has earned a start in the Group 1 $3m Doncaster Mile (1600m) in the Autumn with his win in the Villiers Stakes at Randwick last Saturday.
The winner of the Group 2 $250,000 Inglis Villiers Stakes (1600m) gains automatic entry into the Doncaster Mile on the first day of ‘The Championships’ on April 2 and Webster is keen to follow that path.
Winning jockey Brenton Avdulla also agrees with Webster and can see Happy Clapper lining up in another Randwick Feature Mile during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
“There is no reason why not,” Avdulla said.
Avdulla had been the regular rider for Happy Clapper this campaign, netting two wins from two rides, and chose the five year old as his Villiers Stakes ride over the Gerald Ryan trained Red Excitement and his judgement proved to be correct.
Avdulla had positioned Happy Clapper ($4.80 favourite) just behind the leading group back on the fence but admitted after the race that that was not where he really wanted to be when it gave him no choice but to go on the worst part of the track up along the fence in the straight.
“I was probably in a good spot if I was on another horse but I was in a horrible spot for him – I was in between horses and not getting a lot of room,” Avdulla said.
“I was going to do more damage trying to get out to the better part of the track so I just relied on his class and his light weight to duck back to the inside.
“He got a sniff of them at the furlong and he was never going to get beat. He’s a top class horse.”
Before Webster mapps out an Autumn Carnival campaign, he will send Happy Clapper around in the Group 3 $125,000 Summer Cup (2000m) at Randwick on Boxing Day.
“The plan now is to run him in the Summer Cup in two weeks over 2000 metres,” Webster said.
The veteran trainer had no hesitation is naming Happy Clapper as the best horse he has trained in his long career and is certain he will be able to handle the 2000m.
“I’ve had some good horses. Ab Initio and Shy Hero won a TJ Smith and we had At Sea after Theo Green had him.
“But I’d have to say this is the best horse we’ve had. He has more scope and I can’t wait to see him over 2000 metres.”
Happy Clapper has only been to the races twelve times and his Villiers Stakes win was his sixth and took his over prizemoney tally to $382,600.
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