An inspired ride from Brenton Avdulla saw Happy Clapper sneak up along the inside rail to claim victory in the Group 2 $250,000 Inglis Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday.
Avdulla had the choice of rides between Happy Clapper and the Gerald Ryan trained Red Excitement and is his judgement was vindicated when the Pat Webster trained five year old dashed to the front at the 100m to record a one lengths win over the Queensland mare Tinto.
Happy Clapper was sent out the $4.80 favourite on the back of winning form in his two previous start in BenchMark 85 Handicaps and was able to keep his legion of followers happy.
“I was probably in a good spot if I was on another horse but I was in a horrible spot for him – I was in between horses and not getting a lot of room,” Avdulla said.
“I was going to do more damage trying to get out to the better part of the track so I just relied on his class and his light weight to duck back to the inside.
“He got a sniff of them at the furlong and he was never going to get beat. He’s a top class horse.”
The win in the Villiers Stakes has earned Happy Clapper and exemption from the ballot for the Group 1 $3m Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 2, the first day of ‘The Championships’ during the 2016 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Webster will now step his new stable star up in distance and chase the second Randwick Summer Carnival Feature Race, the Group 3 $125,000 Summer Cup (2000m) on Boxing Day.
“The plan now is to run him in the Summer Cup in two weeks over 2000 metres,” Webster said.
The veteran trainer had no hesitation is naming Happy Clapper as the best horse he has trained in his long career and is certain he will be able to handle the 2000m.
“I’ve had some good horses. Ab Initio and Shy Hero won a TJ Smith and we had At Sea after Theo Green had him,” Webster said.
“But I’d have to say this is the best horse we’ve had. He has more scope and I can’t wait to see him over 2000 metres.”
Happy Clapper has only been to the races twelve times and his Villiers Stakes win was his sixth and took his over prizemoney tally to $382,600.
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Group 2 Villiers Stakes Results
|1||16||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Brenton Avdulla||–||6||53kg||$4.80F|
|2||8||TINTO||Rex Lipp||Tim Clark||1L||5||56kg||$26|
|3||1||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||1.2L||14||59kg||$13|
|4||19||MORAL VICTORY||Tim Martin||Blake Spriggs||1.9L||10||53kg||$31|
|5||12||MIGHTY LUCKY||Fred Cowell||Nathan Thomas||2.2L||9||55kg||$21|
|6||13||TELEPATHIC (NZ)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||3.6L||18||54kg||$6|
|7||6||RHYTHM TO SPARE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Christian Reith||3.9L||8||57kg||$31|
|8||15||GOD’S IN HIM||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||4.3L||4||53kg||$8.50|
|9||14||ZANBAGH||John P Thompson||Ms Kathy O’Hara||4.4L||19||53kg||$9|
|10||9||MALICE||John O’Shea||Sam Clipperton||4.7L||7||56kg||$20|
|11||4||PUCCINI (NZ)||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||4.8L||16||58kg||$9.50|
|12||2||I’M IMPOSING (GB)||Chris Waller||Joshua Parr||5.6L||17||58.5kg||$31|
|13||20||DREAM FOLK||Gregory Hickman||Ms Winona Costin (a)||6.3L||2||53kg||$151|
|14||17||TIMELESS PRINCE||Tony Newing||Mathew Cahill||6.5L||12||53kg||$61|
|15||5||RED EXCITEMENT||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||7L||20||57.5kg||$20|
|16||3||NINTH LEGION||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Blake Shinn||7.4L||13||58kg||$21|
|17||11||CASINO DANCER||Mike Van Gestel||Glyn Schofield||9.4L||3||55kg||$15|
|18||7||PHEIDON||Gai Waterhouse||Adam Hyeronimus||9.5L||11||56.5kg||$101|
|19||10||FRESPANOL||Gai Waterhouse||Thomas Huet||12.9L||1||55.5kg||$11|
|20||18||KEEPIT TO YOURSELF (NZ)||Jim & Greg Lee||Grant Buckley||16.8L||15||53kg||$101|