Happy Clapper is back, bigger and better than ever as he looks to win the Epsom Handicap during the spring.
The Pat Webster-trained gelding emerged as a genuine Group One contender in the autumn, finishing second to Winx in the Doncaster Mile.
A week later Happy Clapper finished third in the weight-for-age Queen Elizabeth Stakes won by Lucia Valentina.
Webster’s son and foreman Wayne said their stable star had been doing pace work and was set to trial on August 9.
“Depending on how he pulls up or how he’s going, we’ll trial him again but we won’t decide that until then,” Webster said.
“He’ll go to the Tramway (Stakes) first up, the Bill Ritchie (Handicap) and hopefully all going well, we’ll go to the Epsom third-up.”
Winx’s trainer Chris Waller has indicated he is likely to set the superstar mare for the Warwick Stakes, Chelmsford Stakes and the George Main Stakes before she travels to Melbourne for a tilt at back-to-back Cox Plate wins, allowing Happy Clapper to avoid her.
While the horse has had his fair share of injury woes throughout his career, Webster is excited about Happy Clapper’s condition as a rising six-year-old.
“He’s a lot bigger, a lot stronger and I think he’s more seasoned now,” Webster said.
At one stage Happy Clapper spent almost a year away from racing.
“With that long lay-off he just didn’t have a chance to harden up,” Webster said.
“He’s 45 kilos heavier and that’s probably the best he’s spelled.
“It’s a long way to go but all going well the Epsom will be our mission.
Pat Webster has previously raised the idea of a trip to Melbourne for the Group One Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes if his Sydney form warrants it.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au