Happy Trails finished a very close second in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) last year and is well-tipped to go one better in this year’s race after drawing the exact same gate (two).
Punters are shying away from the seven-year-old gelding despite this, with his price drifting from $9 out to $11 with online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au.
He finished just a neck behind Shamus Award in the 2013 Cox Plate, but is not in the best form heading into this race. After a ten month break he returned in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m), finishing fifth and proving he is better suited as a stayer.
He’s had a further four starts since then, only managing to place in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) in which he came second. He was unable to defend his title in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), finishing third last followed by a fifth place finish in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m). While he has tried hard he’s been unable to bring home much of a result.
The last horse to run second in the Cox Plate before coming back to win the following year was El Segundo in 2007 (second to Fields Of Omagh in 2006).
Can Happy Trails return to his winning form of last spring and win his first Cox Plate? Or is his form simply not up to scratch?
Cox Plate Horse Form: #4 Happy Trails
- Barrier: 2
- Weight: 59kg
- Jockey: Damien Oliver
- Trainer: Paul Beshara
- Owners: Mrs E Dickmann, Mr K P Dickmann, Mr J P Dickmann, Mrs K H Dickmann, Ms N Swanell, Mr P Swanell
- Age: 7YO
- Gender: Gelding
- Breeding: by Good Journey (USA) from Madame Flurry
- Career: 43:6-8-6
- Win: 14%
- Place: 47%
- Last 6: x58205
- Prize Money: $2,092,200
- Track: 6:1-2-1
- Distance: 8:1-2-1
- Current 2014 Cox Plate Odds: $11
Why Happy Trails Can Win The 2014 Cox Plate?
- Ran home very strongly to finish second behind Shamus Award in the race last year
- Has extensive experience over both the track and distance and especially seems to lap up runs on the Moonee Valley course
- Will appreciate the step up to 2400m distance, which he hasn’t run since last year’s Cox Plate
- Will get a good start from barrier two, the same gate he came home from last year
- Is hooped by Damien Oliver, who has won two Cox Plates in the past
Why Happy Trails Won’t Win The 2014 Cox Plate
- His lead-up form is not as good as it was before last year’s race, failing to place in four of his last five starts
- Has not recorded a win since the Turnbull Stakes last October
- No 7YO has won the race in the past 30 years (Battle Heights was the last one in 1974)
Do you think Happy Trails has what it takes to go one better in the 2014 Cox Plate? Is it the right time for his comeback or is his form just not there? You can back the gelding at Ladbrokes.com.au for the best odds available.
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