Trainer Paul Beshara believes that veteran gelding Happy Trails will be at peak fitness after he runs in the 2015 Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Beshara admitted in the lead-up to the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 14 that Happy Trails was nowhere near 100% percent fit, but he was still able to run home strongly later to finish a more than credible sixth.
Happy Trails will make the step-up to 1800 metres for the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield this weekend and Beshara told Racing Ahead that the seven-year-old will take more benefit from the run heading into the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14.
“It was a great first-up run and he has done well since then,” Beshara said.
“You don’t want him too fit, so he went into the race underdone and I said to Damien (Oliver) that as long as he hits the line I would be happier.
“He was three or four wide the whole way and he hit the line good and his sectional time was as good as anything in the race.
“He has his long term aim which is the Australian Cup and now we go to the Peter Young on Saturday.
“He should run in the first three and we will take it from there.
“This run should top him off.”
The Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) has always been the major 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing goal for Happy Trails and Beshara said that he cannot wait to see the Good Journey gelding back in action at Flemington in just over a fortnight.
Happy Trails has recorded all three of his wins at the highest level of racing at Flemington, the 2012 Emirates Stakes, 2013 Turnbull Stakes and 2014 Mackinnon Stakes, and Beshara said his star galloper absolutely loves the home of the Victorian Racing Club.
“I was just talking with Damien and said that in fairness he is not really a Caulfield horse,” Beshara said.
“Once he gets to Flemington he loves those big sweeping bends and the openness, so he likes it there.
“He has won three Group 1s there.”
Happy Trails is currently available at 2015 Australian Cup odds of $7 and is on the second line of betting behind 2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist ($4.50).