Trainer Pat Webster has determined the path to be taken by stable star Happy Clapper, when he returns to competition during the forthcoming Spring Carnival.
Happy Clapper has been a strong and consistent performer through his entire racing career so far, but has undoubtedly kicked up a gear since being set for black type feature races through the last twelve months.
Foreman for his father, Wayne Webster told AAP the team has been thrilled with the benefit taken by the Teofilo gelding through his time away from racing, and revealed he will be set for a return in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) before targeting the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).
“He’s a lot bigger, a lot stronger and I think he’s more seasoned now,” Webster said.
“He’s 45 kilos heavier and that’s probably the best he’s spelled.
“It’s a long way to go but all going well the Epsom will be our mission.
“Depending on how he pulls up or how he’s going, we’ll trial him again but we won’t decide that until then.
“He’ll go to the Tramway first up, the Bill Ritchie (Handicap) and hopefully all going well, we’ll go to the Epsom third-up.”
Happy Clapper has posted an impressive six wins and as many minors through only sixteen career starts, since first appearing on course competitively during the winter of 2013.
Earning ballot-free entry into the Doncaster Mile with a classy win in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in December 2015, Happy Clapper returned to racing this year for a commendable fourth in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on March 5th.
Progressing to fifth in the talent-rich Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), Happy Clapper mustered a typically-smart turn of foot to run second in the Doncaster Mile third-up on Day 1 of The Championships, and ended his season an impressive third in the major Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) only one week later.
Happy Clapper currently figures as a $41 chance in early 2016 Cox Plate betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.