Having contested Australasia’s weight-for-age championship for the past three years, Happy Trails will be given a fourth shot at the classic with trainer Paul Beshara confirming the veteran for a 2015 Cox Plate campaign this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
A rising eight-year-old son of Good Journey, Happy Trails heads towards the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 24 and pays $26 through Ladbrokes.com.au in the futures markets for the classic.
Happy Trails, now a triple Group 1 winner whose latest elite level success and last time in the winners’ stall was in Flemington’s Mackinnon Stakes over 2000m back in November last year, first ran in the Cox Plate back in 2012 when 10th to the Kiwi-trained winner Ocean Park.
Twelve months later he returned on the back of a Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) win to finish a brave second when just nosed out of the win by Shamus Award in 2013.
Then last year he had a third shot at the Cox Plate trophy but could only manage to run sixth behind the Irish-trained winner Adelaide one run before the Mackinnon Stakes triumph.
Last time out Happy Trails ran seventh behind Criterion, a recent campaigner in England for new trainers David Hayes & Tom Dabernig who also heads towards the Cox Plate this spring, in Randwick’s Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) as a 20/1 shot in April during The Championships.
Beshara is looking at a first-up run for his ageing weight-for-age star, who has won over $3 million in prize money to date, in Adelaide’s $120,000 Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville Racecourse on August 8.
From there the natural progression will be into Caulfield’s $400,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m), which kicks off elite level racing for the season on August 29.
Happy Trails also hasn’t been ruled out of a run in the ‘race that stops a nation’, the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“I think he’ll get over a bit of distance this time,” Beshara told Racing Victoria.
“We’ll throw in a nomination for the Melbourne Cup and will go along our normal course towards the Cox Plate which will be his main aim.”
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