Trainer Paul Beshara has confirmed exciting stayer Happy Trails has been back in work for over a month, and will contest precisely the same racing path as that which delivered an impressive victory in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and fighting second to Shamus Award in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) in 2013.
Returning to the spelling paddock immediately after blasting from well within the pack to finish just a nose in the red of Shamus Award in the Cox Plate, Beshara said Happy Trails has taken well to a three-week cycle since returning to work.
“He came back into work about the 2nd or 3rd of May, did three weeks trotting and now he’s completing three weeks of pace work,” Beshara told TVN.
“Normally I do things in two-week blocks, but because he had six months out, I’m doing them in three-week blocks.
“He’ll run in the Spring Stakes here first-up (Morphettville, Group 3, 1200m),then go to the Memsie Stakes, the Underwood Stakes, the Turnbull before the Cox Plate – same as last year.”
Reacting well to his time in the paddock, Happy Trails is reportedly well on his way to ideal race condition, having put on a substantial amount of weight over autumn.
“He put on about 50kgs while he was out but he’s getting rid of it and starting to really come to hand,” Beshara added.
Claiming a total of six race wins and 13 minor places from 38 competitive race starts to date, Happy Trails was a standout performer over the 2013 Australian racing calendar; finishing third in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) most notably over autumn before returning in the spring for fifth in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) seventh in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) and fourth in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) prior to his two most recent performances.
A two-time champion at the highest level of Australian racing, the Good Journey gelding poked clear to win the 2012 edition of the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) as well as his 2013 Turnbull Stakes triumph.
A legitimate chance of going one betting in 2014, Happy Trails is currently offered at generous odds of $15 for success in early betting markets for the Group 1 Cox Plate, to be held at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 25th.
Steadily building to the task over the 2014 autumn, Her Majesty The Queen-owned Carlton House is currently sole occupant of the top line of betting to win the 2014 Cox Plate at Ladbrokes.com.au, at a quote of $9, ahead of Sacred Falls ($11), Silent Achiever ($11) and Royal Descent ($13).
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