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Seven-year-old Happy Trails has returned to work ahead of a busy 2015 autumn campaign.
The gelding had a busy yet successful spring campaign, finishing runner-up in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) before winning the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) on November 1 after three failed runs in between.
He earned himself a five week stint in the spelling paddock before returning to trainer Paul Beshara’s stable earlier this week.
There will be no rest for Happy Trails come the autumn with Beshara revealing both a trip to Melbourne and Sydney on the cards.
While the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 11 is his long-term target, the trainer is contemplating a trip to Melbourne first with a run in both the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) on February 28 at Caulfield and Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on March 14 at Flemington on the cards.
“He’s had five weeks in the paddock and did well, so it’ll be just nice to get him back,” Beshara told Racing Victoria.
“He comes back into work today and I’ll get him ready for Melbourne. He’ll go to the Futurity then into the Australian Cup and then I’ll go up to Sydney with him for the Queen Elizabeth.”
It’s no surprise Beshara wants to run Happy Trails in the 2015 Australian Cup – the gelding has found his share of success on the Flemington track over 2000m. He won both the Turnbull Stakes and Mackinnon Stakes over the track and distance in the past year and his only other Group One win – the 2012 Emirates Stakes – was also at Flemington but over the mile.
Despite spending five weeks away from the trainer’s stable, Beshara said Happy Trails has been kept moving and is ready to step up and tackle a hard autumn.
“I keep his fitness level up while he’s out,” Beshara said.
“He goes on the walker and has a walk every day for half an hour and then goes out in the paddock. It just keeps him ticking over nice.
“He’s just the same horse. The last three years he’s won a Group 1, so he keeps fronting up.”
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