Damien Oliver has been booked to ride Happy Trails during the 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing and the leading hoop believes that the 2015 Australian Cup at Flemington on March 14 will be an ideal race for the popular galloper.
Happy Trails has been ridden by a number of leading jockeys throughout his racing career to date, but Oliver has had the most success on the son of Good Journey and trainer Paul Beshara is keen to have the jockey on his star horse in the autumn.
Oliver rode Happy Trails for the first time when he finished second in the 2010 edition of the Group 3 Red Anchor Stakes (1200m) and he recorded his first win on the gelding in the 2011 Orion Expedition Cruise Cup (1600m).
Happy Trails had a string of jockeys during his 2012 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but it was Oliver who was on his back when he recorded his maiden win at Group 1 level in the Emirates Stakes (1600m) after rival hoop Glen Boss won the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) on the talented horse.
Dwayne Dunn and Michael Rodd both had a stint partnering Happy Trails, but connections opted to put Oliver back on the seven-year-old for the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 11 and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 before the duo combined for a second win at Group 1 level in the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 1.
Happy Trails is set to return to racing in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 14 before heading to the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28 and the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14 and Oliver is confident that Happy Trails is capable of recording a fourth win at Group 1 level in the $1 million event.
“He has got a great record at Flemington especially over the 2000 metres, winning the Turnbull and the Mackinnon there, and it is a really good track for him,” Oliver said.
“The Australian Cup looks like an ideal goal for him.”
Oliver was one of the most successful jockeys during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and the winner of over 100 Group 1 events is an excellent chance of being a major player in the autumn.
“It has come along quiet well and I am pleased with the way that it is heading,” Oliver said of his autumn bookings.
“I have some nice horses to come back to.”