Jockey Brenton Avdulla is throwing his early season confidence behind Patrick Webster’s galloper Happy Clapper who is on track for an Epsom Handicap 2016 bid this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
Avdualla has been the regular rider of the Teofilo gelding over the past 12 months and is looking forward to reuniting with him this time in.
He rode the now six-year-old to victory in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick last December and partnered the miler-stayer for all four of his autumn runs this year.
The best of those runs were a second to superstar mare Winx in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and then a brave third the following Saturday on a seven day back-up to Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
Happy Clapper has trialled twice since in Sydney with Avdulla aboard, the hoop telling Racenet the horse was giving him a “nice feel” in those hit-outs.
“I’ve been lucky enough to ride a lot of good horses that have given me a nice feel over the past month or so but I think Happy Clapper still has a lot more to offer,” he said.
Webster has scheduled the $175,000 Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) first-up for Happy Clapper at Royal Randwick on September 3 on way to the $1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) back at the track on October 1.
Avdulla will fight to stay on Happy Clapper over the season chasing his second Epsom Handicap win after his success aboard the Grahame Begg-trained mare Secret Admirer back in 2011.
“[Happy Clapper] should be competitive in the Epsom,” Avdulla said.
“He’s my stand out ride in the spring for sure.”
The last Epsom Handicap winner to back straight up off a Tramway run without another lead-up was Sound Horizon back in 1986 who completed the double.
2016 Epsom Handicap nominations close on September 19 making now the time to head to Ladbrokes.com.au and sign-up quoting the code BETBONUS to enjoy up to $500 in bonus bets (excluding NSW, T&Cs apply).