Retirement Looming for Happy Trails

By: Lucy Henderson
April 12th, 2016

Happy Trails could be the latest horse added to the list of retiring stars post Sydney’s ‘The Championships’ races with the Adelaide champion likely having run his last race over the weekend.

Happy Trails

Three-time Group 1 winner Happy Trails may be retired from racing following his Queen Elizabeth Stakes run last Saturday. Photo: Sarah Ebbett.

Morphettville-based trainer Paul Beshara has the rising nine-year-old heading home to the spelling paddock for now, but admits punters might have seen the last of the chestnut gelding by Good Journey.

“You just don’t know at his age,” Beshara told the Adelaide Advertiser this week.

“He’ll let us know.

“I think he’s over the spring, but he’ll tell us what’s the best thing to do. He’ll be nine in August and we just feel the spring legs might be out of him.

“He’s competed at the highest level — and he’ll have to keep competing at the highest level. There aren’t any easy races for him.

“It’s whether he can still compete at that highest level again. That’s what we have to think about.”

Last Saturday on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ at Royal Randwick, Happy Trails finished six lengths away fifth behind the winning mare Lucia Valentina in the $4 million Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).

Incredibly that was the horse’s 31st Group 1 run at his 61st career start.

An $11,000 bargain buy, Happy Trails is a three-time Group 1 champion thanks to victories in the 2012 Emirates Stakes, 2013 Turnbull Stakes and most recently the 2014 Mackinnon Stakes all at Melbourne’s famous Flemington Racecourse.

He hasn’t won a race since his Mackinnon Stakes victory nearly two years back, but has been a consistent performer at the highest level amassing a total of $3,270,150 in total prize money for his loyal connections.

The autumn’s richest race, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes turned out to be the final career start for a number of turf stars including Criterion and Mongolian Khan.

Winner of last year’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Sebring stallion Criterion bowed out with over $7.2 million in career earnings after his 11th in an unsuccessful title defence last Saturday.

The Murray Baker-trained 2015 Caulfield Cup winning Kiwi galloper Mongolian Khan has also run his final race crossing eighth in the Queen Elizabeth.

Also heading to the breeding barn is Godolphin’s million dollar earner and very valuable stud prospect Exosphere.

He goes on the Darley stallion roster with connections of the John O’Shea-trained Lonhro three-year-old opting to retire him early after he pulled up lame following his 11th to Chautauqua in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 2.

Winner of last September’s Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m), Exopshere won five of his 10 career starts and was originally aimed at this weekend’s $600,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) with an eye on Royal Ascot in England later in the year.

A number of All Aged Stakes contenders are still vying for a trip to Royal Ascot including the Chris Waller-trained favourite Press Statement and his stablemate Kermadec.

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