The big one in Melbourne has been run and won today with the Paul Beshara-trained Adelaide raider Happy Trails getting home in the Turnbull Stakes 2013 ahead of their second shot at the Cox Plate later in the month.
A key lead-up to the upcoming Victorian majors, today’s $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) was contested by a field of staying types the majority of which are heading towards a two mile campaign culminating in the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November.
For Good Journey six-year-old Happy Trails however it is the weight-for-age $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 that Beshara is looking for the kill in.
The horse went to last year’s Cox Plate but ran a luckless 10th to Ocean Park.
“With a half decent run he would have done well in last year’s Cox Plate,” Beshara said on TVN after today’s win.
They showed their class with their next run however winning the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) by a nose when going back to the mile at Flemington in a photo.
Today they were back at that track and distance for the Turnbull Stakes which Happy Trails won in an upset as an under-the-radar $31 roughie to become a dual Group 1 winner.
In a beautiful ride from jockey Dwayne Dunn the duo atoned for their also luckless last start fourth in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) when defeated only a length by It’s A Dundeel.
“He’s a horse that’s flown under the radar and if he’d been at a big stable he would have had a bigger wrap on him,” Dunn said.
They will meet It’s A Dundeel again in the Cox Plate, Happy Trails now sure to firm in betting for the classic after their Turnbull success.
“He’s got to take the next step again,” Dunn said of the Cox Plate.
“But he’s just so genuine.”
Dunn will also stay on the horse with Beshara keen to have him continue his association with his stable ace.
“He’ll ride him in the Cox Plate,” the trainer confirmed.
The Emirates Stakes form from last spring held up in today’s Turnbull also with the Emirates runner-up Fawkner, owned by Lloyd Williams, finishing a brave third.
Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune separated the pair in second, Darren Weir’s Melbourne Cup favourite not likely to have lost too many admirers with another cracking effort as the beaten favourite when a neck between them and Fawkner who was a short head off winning.
Puissance De Lune jumped brilliant down towards the inside from barrier one going up to find a front running position early behind the frontrunner Glencadam Gold.
Heading to the turn with 600m left to travel, Glencadam Gold still held the lead by a length with Puissance De Lune fast approaching up on the inside.
Fawkner then caught the eye coming down the middle of the track looming up for the win before Happy Trails burst through to snare a late lead over the favourite and take out the Turnbull on their way to another Cox Plate.
“It’s thrown a cat in the pigeon cage now hasn’t it,” Beshara said speaking of the Cox Plate.
“We’re back again.”
Purchased for a mere $11,000 from the 2009 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sales, Happy Trails has now won over $1.5 million in prize money and there was no hiding the affection Beshara feels towards the underrated galloper after the Turnbull.
“He’s a magnificent horse,” Beshara said.
“He’s like a brother or a son to me.
“We’ve been all over Australia with him….he’s put us on a good journey.
“We certainly owe him more than he owes us.”
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2013 Turnbull Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Flemington Race 8 – 05/10/2013
|1||3||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Dwayne Dunn||–||5||57.5kg||$26|
|2||7||PUISSANCE DE LUNE (IRE)||Darren Weir||Glen Boss||0.2L||1||56.5kg||$3.90F|
|3||11||FAWKNER||Robert Hickmott||Nicholas Hall||0.4L||6||55.5kg||$13|
|4||6||FIORENTE (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||0.5L||11||56.5kg||$4.80|
|5||5||HAWKSPUR||Chris Waller||Michael Walker||0.6L||15||56.5kg||$13|
|6||10||SILENT ACHIEVER (NZ)||Roger James||Steven Arnold||1.6L||10||55.5kg||$26|
|7||13||JET AWAY (GB)||David Hayes||Daniel Moor||1.9L||3||55.5kg||$21|
|8||14||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||Craig Williams||2.65L||2||54.5kg||$20|
|9||4||SUPER COOL||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||3.65L||7||56.5kg||$7|
|10||12||MR O’CEIRIN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||Mark Zahra||3.75L||8||55.5kg||$31|
|11||16||ROYAL DESCENT||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||3.95L||4||54.5kg||$8.50|
|12||15||QUINTESSENTIAL (NZ)||John Sargent||Damian Browne||4.7L||13||54.5kg||$71|
|13||9||TUSCAN FIRE||Dan O’Sullivan||Luke Currie||7.95L||16||56.5kg||$151|
|14||8||GLENCADAM GOLD (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||Vlad Duric||8.15L||12||56.5kg||$31|
|15||1||MANIGHAR (FR)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||13.15L||14||59kg||$51|
|16||2||SANGSTER (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Noel Callow||23.15L||9||57.5kg||$91|
|–||19e||WHISPER DOWNS||David Hayes||Chad Schofield (a)||–||0||–||–|
|–||20e||BIT OF HELL (IRE)||Mick Price||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||17e||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart & James Cummings||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||18e||WALDPARK (GER)||Anthony Freedman||–||–||0||–||–|