Happy Trails is set to contest the 2015 Turnbull Stakes and trainer Paul Beshara is extremely confident that his star galloper will win the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Happy Trails is yet to record a win this preparation, but he produced promising performances in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on August 8, the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 29 and the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 12.
Beshara told Racing Ahead that Happy Trails will be very close to peak fitness in the Turnbull Stakes and he wasted no time declaring that the eight-year-old will record his fourth win at the highest level of racing.
“He is very well, he is bouncing around like a two-year-old,” Beshara said.
“That put him up for a bit more fitness and he will be very competitive on Sunday.
“Dwayne rode him on Tuesday morning and he was happy, so it was onwards and upwards.
“I reckon this run will top him right off.
“I reckon that he will win on Sunday and he will only get better from then.
“He is as good as ever.”
Glen Boss rode Happy Trails in his past two starts, but Dwayne Dunn will reunite with the veteran gelding for the first time since he finished second behind Shamus Award in the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Beshara said that Boss was keen to ride Happy Trails in the 2015 Turnbull Stakes, but the Adelaide-based trainer wanted a trainer that could ride the triple Group 1 winner in both the Turnbull Stakes and the Cox Plate.
“He wanted to ride him in the Turnbull Stakes, but he is already booked for Kermadec in the Cox Plate,” Beshara said.
“It is no value to me because I want a jockey to ride him in the Turnbull and the Cox Plate.
“Dwayne did a pretty good job on him the other year – he won the Turnbull on him and he was second by a nostril in the Cox Plate.
“He knows the horse and his style of riding is very good for him.
“The horse is not a horse that gets on the speed, he likes to relax and inside the 600 he will start moving out on him.
“I am very confident with him now.”
Happy Trails is currently available at 2015 Turnbull Stakes odds of $15 with Ladbrokes, while Alpine Eagle ($6) and Royal Descent ($6) are locked in a battle for favouritism from Hartnell ($7) and Amralah ($7.50).