Morphettville horseman Paul Beshara is mapping out a major Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival assault for his Group 1 performer Happy Trails who is set for to target both the Cox Plate 2013 and 2013 Emirates Stakes again this season.
Good Journey gelding Happy Trails, six on Thursday, has been a feature in the past two Victorian spring carnivals and will be given another shot at the big time this year.
Back in 2011 they had a quiet few runs including a win over the Caulfield mile and a fourth in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Mile (1600m) in October.
After racing in Sydney during the autumn in between, including a very brave sixth beaten under one and a half lengths by super mare More Joyous in the iconic Doncaster Mile, Happy Trails returned to Melbourne last year and was really tested with the best.
Taking out the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at home first-up in August they ran in five Melbourne races including three Group 1’s.
Their best effort came right at the end of their prep too when backing up from a Cox Plate 10th behind Ocean Park to narrowly defeat Fawkner for the Emirates Stakes win.
It is an identical campaign Beshara has on the agenda for them again this time in with their grand final to be a title defense in the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 9.
In the lead-up they will race in the same four races they did last spring including the $220,000 Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield which they were second in 12 months ago and the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) where they will be looking for another win after their close victory over subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon last September.
From there it’s all Group 1’s until the end with the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington in early October and then the famous $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
In early Cox Plate betting Happy Trails is paying a juicy $67, a price sure to firm should they do well in their lead-up runs.
Last seen running third to the Chris Waller-trained import Reliable Man in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in April, Happy Trails is set to resume on Saturday week at home vying for back-to-back wins in the Spring Stakes.
Beshara is pleased with how they are progressing towards that first-up run too after they had a nice hit-out at Morphettville on Tuesday morning.
“He had a nice jump-out here this morning and went really well,” he told Racing Network yesterday.
“I’m a little bit behind with him because of all the rain we have had here and I’d love to get another trial into him, but it’s not going to happen.
“He’ll go straight to Melbourne after the Spring Stakes here, which he won last year, and his first run there will be the Memsie.
“He’ll go Memsie, Dato, Turnbull, Cox Plate then we’ll have a look again at the Emirates I guess.”
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