2016 Makybe Diva Stakes First-Up for Happy Trails

Paul Beshara’s stable star Happy Trails will bypass a traditional new season kick-off in this weekend’s Spring Stakes at home in Adelaide in favour for a later Melbourne return in the Makybe Diva Stakes 2016 next month.

Happy Trails

Happy Trails will kick off his spring in the 2016 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington in September. Photo: Sarah Ebbett.

The Morphettville-based Beshara confirmed plans to run his veteran Good Journey nine-year-old Happy Trails first-up at Flemington Racecourse on September 10 in the $500,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) over the mile.

“He’ll run first-up in the Makybe Diva,” Beshara told Racing Victoria this week.

“I’ve got six weeks to get him ready for that and then we’ll see how he goes and then work out where we he ends up from there.

“He’s happy and well and enjoying being back in the stable.”

It is a notable change from the past four years when Beshara has run the galloper first-up at home in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m), the sprint showdown taking place this Saturday in Adelaide.

Happy Trails ran fifth in the 2013 and 2014 Spring Stakes following a 2012 win and sixth in the race last year, but will be saved for an extra four weeks ahead of his Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival raid this season.

A winner of over $3.27 million in prize money over his 61 career runs, the evergreen warhorse is best known for his Group 1 wins in the Emirates Stakes (2012), Turnbull Stakes (2013) and Mackinnon Stakes (2014).

The Mackinnon Stakes two springs ago was Happy Trails’ last turf triumph, the horse out to break a notable drought this campaign.

He contested last year’s Makybe Diva Stakes third-up running fifth when under a length off the winner Fawkner in a blanket finish, Beshara hoping he can show up in the mile clash this year that could also feature Darren Weir’s Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance.

Happy Trails could be heading towards a fifth run in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship when the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) runs at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 22.

He has run in the past four editions of the Cox Plate, his best result a second to Shamus Award in 2013.

Last year he finished 10th to Winx, beaten over 13 lengths by Chris Waller’s star mare on the back of his Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) second to Criterion.

Beshara also hasn’t ruled out a shot at a rescheduled Mackinnon Stakes, which runs this season as the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) on the first Saturday in November during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

From there a trip west to Perth to chase the summer Group 1 races over there could also be on the cards.

“We just need some dry tracks – he hates the wet,” Beshara said of Happy Trails who currently sits as a $61 roughie in futures Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.

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