Jockey Brenton Avdulla has opted to stay aboard the in-form Patrick Webster-trained Happy Clapper for the horse’s Group 2 bid in the 2015 Villiers Stakes this Saturday at Royal Randwick.
Avdulla had the option of two mounts in this summer’s $250,000 Group 2 Inglis Villiers Stakes (1600m) with rides available on both Happy Clapper and the Gerald Ryan-trained Red Excitement.
Despite partnering Excites six-year-old Red Excitement last time out on November 28 for a close fifth when beaten under two lengths in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill, he chose to retain the ride on Teofilo five-year-old Happy Clapper instead.
Red Excitement suffered an early blow in the Villiers Stakes barrier draw coming up with the extreme outside barrier 20 of 20 draw in the capacity field as he shoots for his third win from as many starts over the mile.
Happy Clapper, who leads Villiers Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $4.60 in the latest markets to make it three on the trot, fared far better coming up trumps with gate six and is much shorter for the win than $19 hope Red Excitement.
Avdulla rode the gelding to victory over 1500m in a Benchmark 85 at Rosehill a fortnight ago and was also aboard for the 1200m Randwick win the run before in late October.
Happy Clapper carried 58.5kg and 60.5kg respectively to victory in those two lead-up races and is a big hope dropping right back to the 53kg minimum weight for his Villiers Stakes test.
At career start number 12 Saturday is the first time the horse sees black-type company since his third to Savvy Nature in the Group 3 Newcastle Spring Stakes (1600m) way back in September of 2013.
Only lightly raced, he gets the chance to secure a stakes victory this weekend and Avdulla is hoping he has picked it right as he abandons Red Excitement – a horse he has ridden for 11 of his 19 starts including his past six on the trot.
“He’s an up-and-coming horse and he’s on the minimum,” Avdulla said of Happy Clapper according to Sports News.
“He drops from 60-and-a-half kilograms last start to 53 on Saturday, he’s two from two this preparation and I just think he’ll be very hard to beat.”
Kerrin McEvoy comes in to take over for Avdulla on Red Excitement, the hoop chasing his first win in the race that fellow hoop Avdulla won five years ago aboard Dances On Waves (2010) as an apprentice.
Other notable hopes in the Villiers Stakes line-up this Sydney Summer Racing Carnival include the Chris Waller-trained ATC Cup winner Telepathic ($7) with a wide barrier 18 draw and God’s In Him ($9) who has won three from five at the track.
Check out the full Villiers Stakes 2015 odds and betting options online now at Ladbrokes.com.au and quote the code BETBONUS when making your first deposit to have it matched 100% up to $500 in bonus bets for a short time only!