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Trainer Paul Beshara saddled Happy Trails to success in last year’s Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and is confident the popular gelding is in the right form for success in Saturday’s 2015 edition of the race at Flemington.
Happy Trails is a multiple Group 1 winner and has posted several impressive results through his 2015 Spring Carnival thus far without being able to return to winning form; highlighted by a close fifth in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and second to Criterion in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 10th.
Having completed a luckless run for tenth in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last weekend, Beshara told Racing Ahead he is confident the Good Journey gelding will relish the Flemington conditions and is primed for a big performance in the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes.
“He joined a lot of horses last Saturday where front runners were just having a field day, there were track records getting broken off the rail and that’s just the way it was,” Beshara said.
“He ran a tired race last Saturday but he’s picked up immensely, he’s eating and licking out the feed and I’m not doing much with him.
“Every horse gets their chance at Flemington so I suppose it’s a more even race.
“We’ve chased him out early and he’s never done any good, he just hasn’t got that finish. We’ll keep him like that (off pace).
“The only clear run he’s had was in the Makybe Diva and he ran fifth or sixth, but he was only beaten point 7 of a length and was wide the whole way.”
Beshara revealed Happy Trails will likely return to the paddock following the Mackinnon Stakes, but outlined a plan to target the Group 1 QEII Cup (2000m) in Hong Kong following a brief 2016 Autumn Carnival campaign.
“He’ll go to Hong Kong next April,” Beshara said.
“I talked to Erica the owner and said every time we go to Sydney we get flooded out.
“We decided this time he’s had his needles, we’ll go to Hong Kong.
“I think we’ll do the Orr Stakes, the Peter Young and then the Australia Cup. That will be his hit-out before we got to Hong Kong.”
Posting seven wins and a further seventeen minors through 56 career starts so far, Happy Trails has been confirmed to be partnered by Dwayne Dunn in the Mackinnon Stakes and will leave from the ideal barrier 6.
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