Paul Beshara’s Cox Plate-bound veteran Happy Trails head the nominations for the Spring Stakes 2014 in Adelaide this weekend.
One of three Group races taking place around the country this weekend, Saturday’s $115,000 Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville Racecourse has attracted 12 early entries.
Nominations for the new season springboard have been extended until 10:00am on Tuesday however with the weight-for-age event having a capacity field of 20 starters plus four emergencies.
The genuine headliner and confirmed acceptor is Good Journey seven-year-old Happy Trails, a $15 fancy at Ladbrokes.com.au for their major spring goal – the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
Happy Trails was last seen running in last year’s Cox Plate when a devastatingly close second to upset three-year-old winner Shamus Award, after which they were found to be suffering from a tendon injury.
Before that they won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) to become a dual elite level champ following their 2012 Melbourne Cup Carnival win in the Emirates Stakes over the mile.
Beshara, who has welcomed back his horses after serving out a suspension from training, is eager for Happy Trails to win a major believing them more than deserving of taking home the Cox Plate trophy.
He also hopes he can win first-up in the Spring Stakes, Troy Baker booked for the ride, to atone for a luckless fifth behind Just Discreet in the race 12 months ago.
They will go to the $400,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield second-up on August 30 then when Dwayne Dunn returns to the saddle, the jockey engaged for Melbourne’s Flemington meet this weekend.
Another Group 1 performer resuming in the Spring Stakes is the Richard Jolly-trained Hussonet six-year-old Karacatis.
They last raced on May 10 in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) finishing sixth to upset winner Smokin’ Joey.
Jolly has also nominated for his evergreen veteran Mr Good Cat.
An eight-year-old son of Tale Of The Cat the old warhorse showed they still have a zest for racing when winning over 1100m here on July 26 defeating Mr Chard and Daytona Grey.
The next highest rated Spring Stakes nominee after Happy Trails this year meanwhile is then the Ken Sweeney-trained local Riziz.
The Zariz six-year-old was last seen running a distant third to Lord Of The Sky, who has flopped as the odds-on favourite at their subsequent two starts, in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on July 5.
They won a trial in the wet last week at Morphettville over 1000m so look spot on for another good run.
Also in that trail on August 1 was third placed Light It Up, the Mossman four-year-old another Spring Stakes hope for Saturday.
A winner of two of their 12 starts to date the Ryan Balfour-trained gelding comes off a July 19 win on a Heavy (8) run at the track when defeating Mermaid Run by half a length.
Also in good form are the likes of the Leon Mcdonald & Andrew Gluyas-trained Daytona Grey, Gawler-trained Clangalang mare Our Littletreasure who won over 1050m here two weeks back and their stablemate Pinky Tuscadero shooting for their third win on the trot over the track and distance.
Another notable hope is the Stuart Gower-trained Dubawi Gold, the seven-year-old first-up here off a length spell not having raced since their win in the Listed Christmas Handicap (1400m) on Boxing Day.
Peter Moody meanwhile has nominated Sino Eagle who is also entered for the $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Check out the current Spring Stakes 2014 nominations below.
Then to get behind Happy Trails at their generous early Cox Plate betting price before the weekend, visit Ladbrokes.com.au where first time depositing players are rewarded with a bonus bet up to $250!
2014 Spring Stakes Nominations
Morphettville Racecourse – 09/08/2014
|2||DAYTONA GREY||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||95|
|3||DUBAWI GOLD||Stuart Gower||93|
|4||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||115|
|6||LIGHT IT UP||Ryan Balfour||71|
|7||MR GOOD CAT||Richard Jolly||88|
|8||OUR LITTLETREASURE||Kerri McAnulty & Clint Binnie||71|
|9||OUTLANDISH LAD||Dennis O’Leary||96|
|10||PINKY TUSCADERO||Kerri McAnulty & Clint Binnie||70|
|12||SINO EAGLE||Peter G Moody||87|