The great association between Happy Trails and Damien Oliver is what Adelaide trainer Paul Beshara is banking on to lift his Group 1 winner back into winning form in the Group 2 $300,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Oliver resumes riding with five mounts at Geelong on Friday after a ten months ban as a consequence of his betting scandal last Spring and will quickly be back into the limelight of this year’s Carnival on Saturday.
Oliver and Happy Trails combined to win the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on the last day last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival and Beshara is hoping their reunion will deliver a similar result on the weekend.
“I feel real good about it. He has a great association with the horse,” Beshara told AAP.
“He deserves to be there – he’s a champion jockey and a credit to racing.”
Happy Trails has been unplaced from six starts since winning at Flemington last November but Beshara was happy with his last start seventh to Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 $350,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 31.
“It was a massive run in the Memsie,” Beshara said.
“He’s only been beaten by a length out of second place as a whole bunch went over the line.”
With two runs under his belt this time, Beshara is hoping to make it back to back Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes after winning last year with Melbourne premier jockey Glen Boss aboard.
And a return to form will see Beshara push ahead for another crack at the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 after getting beaten six and a half lengths when tenth to Ocean Park last year.