Classy stayer Happy Trails has concluded his campaign through the Australian Spring Racing Carnival in the best way possible, displaying a keen turn of foot in the final straight at Flemington to win the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) in a photo finish.
Jumping from the gates only fairly, the Good Journey gelding was forced to settle well within the pack, allowing early leaders Mourinho, Brambles and Star Rolling to set a noticeably quick tempo away from the barriers.
Steadily pressing forward rounding the bend, Happy Trails appeared to have a little too much to do when finding the straight wide, but quickly spooled up and charged home down the outside, locking in a sprint battle with Epsom Handicap winner He’s Your Man before poking a nose clear over the line; Farraaj running on for third.
Champion jockey Damien Oliver delivered a typically polished ride on Happy Trails for victory in the 2014 Mackinnon Stakes and was thrilled to deliver trainer Paul Beshara a well-deserved Group 1 victory on Derby Day.
“He’s a ripper, he’s a great horse this horse and I’m just so rapt for Paul Beshara; he’s had a luckless spring and it’s great for him to win a big one,”
“He deserved to win a big race this spring this horse and I couldn’t let Jo (Moreira, He’s Your Man) the Brazilian win them all!
“It’s a great thrill to win a big race on Derby Day.”
Beshara was understandably thrilled with Happy Trails’ victory in the 2014 Mackinnon Stakes and was quick to heap the praise on the classy seven-year-old immediately after the race.
“He’s won his three Group 1’s now in photos and he’s lost a couple Group 1’s in photos,” Beshara said after the Mackinnon Stakes.
“I reckon he’s the best weight-for-age horse in Australia, if not the world.
“He’s just a great racehorse; he’s so accommodating, he gives you his heart, he absolutely gives you his heart.
“That’s the second Group 1 on him for Olly, and like I said he should have had a couple of Cox Plates in there.
“I’m just very, very happy he’s won this.”
Securing a third Group 1 victory in taking out the 2014 Mackinnon Stakes, Happy Trails has been confirmed for a trip abroad to contest the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on December 13th.