2016 CF Orr Stakes Return for Hong Kong Bound Happy Trails

Morphettville trainer Paul Beshara has confirmed a CF Orr Stakes 2016 return next month for his veteran galloper Happy Trails who could be Hong Kong bound later in the year.

Happy Trails (outside)

Triple Group 1 winner Happy Trails (outside) could avoid the likely wet tracks in Sydney this autumn and head to Hong Kong for a Group 1 run in late April. Photo: Jenny Barnes.

An eight-year-old son of Good Journey, the Adelaide-trained Happy Trails hasn’t raced since his eighth to French raider Gailo Chop in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) in his 57th career run in October last year.

Runner-up two runs prior to that behind Criterion in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), Happy Trails is best known for his three Group 1 wins in the 2012 Emirates Stakes, 2013 Turnbull Stakes and 2014 Mackinnon Stakes.

He hasn’t won a race since his Mackinnon victory over a year and a half ago and will be out to break the drought when he returns this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.

A winner of over $3.13 million in prize money already, Happy Trails is likely to run first-up at Caulfield Racecourse on February 13 in the $500,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).

After his 2014 Mackinnon win he kicked off his autumn campaign last year in the same race finishing sixth to Dissident before a Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) second to Mourinho and a third in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).

His autumn bid came undone in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) however when he finished 12th as an $18 shot behind the Chris Waller-trained winner Kermadec in the $3 million The Championships feature.

This year Beshara and connections have their sights set on an international campaign for the rising nine-year-old warhorse after being invited to compete in Hong Kong’s Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on April 24.

“We’ve got our invitation and everything,” Beshara told Racing Ahead on RSN.

“This year we thought he’s eight years of age, he’s not going to have much longer [racing].

“They really love him in Hong Kong.

“We thought we could go to Sydney every year, but we just get flooded out. He can’t run on the wet track, so we’re really considering Hong Kong.”

The Queen Elizabeth II Cup was won last April by Blazing Speed with Australia’s David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion running a brave third with Craig Williams in the saddle.

Leading into the CF Orr Stakes, Beshara said Happy Trails would have a jumpout next Monday before an official February 5 trial.

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