They don’t have the pedigree of the top fancies and both will start at big prices but Sincero and Happy Trails play an important role just by getting to the start line in Saturday’s $3 million Cox Plate.
The pair highlight racing’s accessibility for all to get to the big stage, albeit with a little bit of luck.
Sincero, an $8,000 yearling purchase, has already won twice at Group 1 level and collected prizemoney in excess of $1.7 million while $11,000 yearling Happy Trails is the horse 63-year-old Adelaide trainer Paul Beshara has been waiting many years for.
In comparison, boom colts All Too Hard and Pierro who will attract much of the hype this week, were bought for $1.025 million and $230,000 respectively.
The Stephen Farley-trained Sincero is rated a $26 chance to add a third Group 1 win to his resume this weekend while Happy Trails is at $41 to achieve Beshara’s Cox Plate dream.
But that doesn’t mean they are without a chance and both will be out to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner Pinker Pinker who produced an upset paying $26.
Both have followed proven lead-ups to the Cox Plate, with Sincero defeating Happy Trails in the Memsie Stakes last month.
Since 2000, seven Cox Plate winners have come through the Memsie Stakes, with the most recent So You Think in 2010.
The Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes, which Happy Trails won, is another proven Cox Plate lead-up as is the Caulfield Stakes in which Sincero finished third to Ocean Park.
Sincero will be having his second attempt at the Cox Plate after finishing ninth last year and Farley believes he learnt a lot from his first trip to the Moonee Valley glamour race.
Speaking at the Cox Plate barrier draw, Farley said he will apply blinkers to his stable star which proved a successful gear change ahead of his first Group 1 win in the 2011 Stradbroke Handicap.
“Last year was a big learning curve for both the horse and myself,” Farley said.
“He came off a long campaign through Brisbane and the Sydney carnival and this year we’ve focused just on the one race.
“He was very keen in his work with the blinkers on but I was very pleased with the way he pulled up.”
Happy Trails will be having his third start in the top grade after first showing the ability to match it at Group 1 level with an eye-catching sixth in the Doncaster Mile in April.