There has been early money for Happy Trails in 2015 Mackinnon Stakes betting markets and trainer Paul Beshara is confident that his star galloper can record back-to-back wins in the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Happy Trails was caught wide throughout in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last weekend and he could finish no better than tenth, but Beshara told Racing this morning that the eight-year-old has bounced back well from the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship and can retain his Mackinnon Stakes crown if he returns to the sort of form that he produced when he finished second behind Criterion in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 10.
“He pulled up like he had a torrid run because he ran two miles last Saturday, but he has picked up immensely, he is eating and licking out,” Beshara said.
“I am not doing much with him, he is just trotting and hacking and that is all that he needs.
“Every horse gets their chance at Flemington, so I suppose that it is a more even race.
“That was a good run (in the Caulfield Stakes) because when you look at the Turnbull he never got out of second gear and in the Memsie he never got clear.
“The only actual clear run he got was in the Makybe Diva when he ran fifth to Fawkner and he was only beaten .7 of a length.
“You are going out there to win and I am out there confident all the time.”
Happy Trails was caught in the worse part of the track throughout the Cox Plate, but Beshara revealed that he went into the race knowing that run-on horses like Happy Trails would struggle to make up ground.
Beshara admits that he was extremely disappointed at the end of the Cox Plate last weekend, but he said that track patterns are a part of racing and he is hopeful that the Flemington track will suit Happy Trails in the Mackinnon Stakes this weekend.
“There were a lot of horses like that last Saturday,” Beshara said.
“The front-runners just had a field day and track records were getting broken off the rai.
“That is just the way that racing was there.
“You just cry a lot that is all that you can do and it is the way that it is.”
Happy Trails is currently available at 2015 Mackinnon Stakes odds of $9 with Ladbrokes and he is on the fourth line of betting behind Magic Hurricane ($5.50), Stratum Star ($7.50) and Flamingo Star ($8).