Trainer Paul Beshara has confirmed that Happy Trails will return to the races in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on August 9.
Happy Trails has not been seen at the races since he suffered a tendon injury when a close second behind Shamus Award in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 last year, but moved one step closer to his racing return when he took part in an exhibition gallop over 1000 metres with stablemate Richie’s Vibe on Saturday.
Beshara told TVN this morning that he was happy with the performance of both of his star stablemates and he announced that both would trial on Saturday before starting their 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaigns.
“They both worked well on Saturday and will both trial on Friday,” Beshara said.
“Happy Trails will definitely resume in the Spring Stakes with Troy Baker aboard.
“Whether or not Richie’s Vibe runs in the same race will be determined by how he trials.
“He’s just a little bit behind in his work, Happy Trails returned to trackwork earlier.”
Beshara revealed in May that the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 would be the major 2014 Spring Racing Carnival goal for Happy Trails and he is set to contest the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1200m), Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) before attempting to go one better in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
Happy Trails will be running in the Cox Plate for the third time in his career after finishing sixth in 2012 and second last year, while he is chasing his second win in the Spring Stakes after taking out the race in 2012 and finishing an unlucky fifth last year.
Richie’s Vibe has not been seen at the races since he finished 15th in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 22, but is also working towards a return to the races.
The Danerich gelding has had a breakthrough season, taking out the Listed MSS Security Sprint (1200m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day and Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 24 and Beshara is eyeing the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 26 with the rising five-year-old during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Happy Trails is currently on the fifth line of the 2014 Cox Plate betting market with Ladbrokes Australia at a quote of $15.