Jockey Brenton Avdulla isn’t convinced Happy Clapper is a genuine weight-for-age horse heading into the 2016 George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday but is hoping his mount can come close to superstar mare Winx.
Chris Waller’s four-time Group 1 winning daughter of Street Cry is the odds-on favourite at $1.65 through Ladbrokes.com.au to take out the $1 million Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on Golden Slipper Day this weekend.
While no female galloper has taken out the weight-for-age classic since Heat Of The Moment (1986) won in her three-year-olds season, the class and lead-up form of the spring’s Cox Plate hero Winx is too good to ignore.
Avdulla, who has had two previous rides in the race for a third, meanwhile jumps on $31 outsider in George Ryder Stakes betting Happy Clapper.
Jumping from barrier two in a small eight-starter field, a gate that hasn’t produced a George Ryder Stakes winner since Mouawad (1997), the Patrick Webster-trained Happy Clapper is second-up and has a good record of two wins and a second from three previous second-up runs.
The Teofilo five-year-old enjoyed three straight wins during his spring – summer season including the one length win over Group 1 winning mare Tinto in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) over the Randwick mile on December 12.
The Randwick mile is exactly where he’s heading next-up after his George Ryder Stakes run on the weekend with Webster aiming the gelding at the $3 million Group 1 The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’.
Under WFA on Saturday Happy Clapper carts 59kg, but he drops right back to just 50.5kg for the 2016 Doncaster Mile.
That’s a weight NSW Jockeys Premiership leader Avdulla is working hard to get down.
The 25-year-old rides the Matthew Dale-trained Oakleigh Plate runner-up Fell Swoop on 52.5kg in Saturday’s $700,000 Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m), so is hoping by April 2 he’ll be at the right weight to partner Happy Clapper in the Doncaster.
“Happy Clapper is already qualified for the Doncaster so I’m getting down to the weight gradually,” Avdulla told Racenet this week.
“Training and dieting.”
Last time out Happy Clapper finished fourth to Holler beaten under two and a half lengths in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at WFA on 59kg with Avdulla aboard, and his late sectionals were the best in the race.
“He was great first-up,” Avdulla said.
“I just want to see him go well. He probably isn’t a weight-for-age horse but if he gets the breaks I wouldn’t be surprised if he went close.”
Happy Clapper might be at a roughies’ price for this weekend, but futures Doncaster Mile odds have him at $13 currently in all-in markets led by Press Statement ($6) and First Seal ($8) who both also run in the George Ryder Stakes.
The George Ryder Stakes has produced the past two Doncaster Mile winners with Sacred Falls (4th) in 2014 who also won the 2013 edition and Kermadec (3rd) last year for the race’s five-time winning trainer Waller.
To back Winx to win the George Ryder, or Happy Clapper to run a place, and for access to the early Doncaster Mile odds head to Ladbrokes.com.au today!