On Saturday Paul Beshara’s fairytale Adelaide raider Happy Trails will again take on the big guns in Melbourne when he races in the Turnbull Stakes 2012 at Flemington which will be just their second look at the 2000-metres.
The five-year-old Good Journey gelding is one of 16 starters, plus an emergency, accepted for the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) this Saturday.
Coming up with the inside alley Happy Trails will be ridden by Ben Melham for the first time with Glen Boss, aboard for their two most recent runs, committed to ride reigning Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed in the Turnbull.
Happy Trails had Southern Speed’s measure first up when he won the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville, Southern Speed finishing a length away third.
From there Beshara’s stable ace travelled to Victoria to run second to Sincero in the Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield before their narrow last start victory over Green Moon in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 15.
Saturday sees Happy Trials step up to 2000m, a distance they have seen just once before when second to subsequent Queensland Derby winner Shootoff in the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) back in April last year.
Still Beshara remains confident they are in with a genuine chance, Happy Trails currently paying $10 in the Turnbull Stakes odds at bookmaker.com.au which are led by the Lloyd Williams-owned Green Moon ($4.80).
“He doesn’t take a lot of work, he’s done a couple of gallops and that’s about it,” Beshara said.
“He’ll handle the 2000 and that’s a very good field, that Turnbull. It’s as good a field as you’re going to get in Australia.
“All your top guns are in there.”
For Happy Trails, who has won over $590,000 in prize money to date, to be even racing in such company as December Draw, Southern Speed and Linton is a dream come true for connections, the horse a $11,000 bargain buy from the 2009 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sales.
“Even now he’s been a fairytale,” Beshara said.
“He’s won in Adelaide and Melbourne and run some bloody good races in Sydney.
“For $11,000, he’s by Good Journey and he’s taken everyone on a good journey.
“I think he’s a horse for the public, the public love him.
“We go to the races and you’ll always see people come down to the stalls and gather around him.
“I think it was his early racing style which was to get well back and then fly home and I think people in general just like that sort of horse.”
His only concern on Saturday then is the barrier one draw, a gate that Happy Trails may struggle to keep a position from in the early stages.
“You’ve just got to jump out and hope too many don’t cross you,” he said.
“But barrier one could help him because he’s not going to be doing any work. It’s not like he draws 16 and he has to come and work his heart out.”
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