Charging home to finish an agonizingly close second in the 2013 edition of the Moonee Valley feature, trainer Paul Beshara is confident classy seven-year-old Happy Trails is a better horse leading into the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) this weekend.
Displaying a keen turn of foot in the final straight to finish just off the pace of Shamus Award in the 2013 Cox Plate, Happy Trails has contested a similar path through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival in the lead-up this his major target with the addition of a final tune-up for fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 11th.
Pleased with the form displayed by the Good Journey gelding since returning to racing this time in, Beshara is confident of a typically polished performance from the ideal barrier 2 on Saturday.
“He’s a lot better now; he’s more mature – he’s seven, he’s got to be,” Beshara said following Tuesday’s Cox Plate barrier draw.
“He’s going well, he’s glowing and looks good and his runs in this time have been really good.
“He had an extra run which he never has last year, he ran in the Caulfield Stakes and other than that I think he can win.
“It was a really good run actually – from where he was to come out that part of the track was not running good and he hit the line in the last 50 metres he was coming good.
“He had barrier 2, he’s a horse that will get back and with a bit of luck on his side he gets out he comes home pretty strong.”
Securing a commendable record of six race wins and a further 14 minor places over his 48 career starts to date, Happy Trails was a standout performer over the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival; finishing fourth in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and winning the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) in the lead-up to the Cox Plate.
Having returning in similarly strong form this time in, highlighted by a close second in Foreteller in the Underwood Stakes, Happy Trails is currently available at generous Cox Plate odds of $10 for success on $3.30 to finish in the places at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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