Patrick Webster’s consistent local galloper Happy Clapper is one of the highest-rated Bill Richie Handicap 2016 nominations taken for the George Main Stakes Day support act in Sydney this Saturday.
A total of 19 middle-distance sprinters are nominated for the $125,000 Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick including Teofilo six-year-old Happy Clapper who will race second-up if accepted.
A three-time winner from eight starts at the track, Happy Clapper enjoyed a stellar autumn in Sydney highlighted by his Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) second to Winx and third to Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
First-up on September 3 he ran fifth to Hauraki in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) and returns to the track and distance this weekend looking to improve and add to his strong second-up record (4-2-1-0).
Equal first on the Bill Ritchie Handicap ballot with Happy Clapper is the Kris Lees-trained Le Romain.
The Randwick Guineas winner from the autumn is nominated for a host of races this weekend in both Sydney and Melbourne including taking on Winx in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at home.
Lees will make a call later in the week as to the next-up option for his consistent Hard Spun four-year-old who was last seen running second in the Tramway Stakes a fortnight ago.
Sitting high-up the pre-field Bill Ritchie Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au meanwhile are the Chris Waller-trained Tsaritsa ($4.60) and the John O’Shea-trained Federal ($5).
Waller dominates the Bill Ritchie Handicap nominations entering seven from his record-breaking stables.
Tsaritsa is the best fancied by the bookies, the Dane Shadow mare coming off a first-up third at the track and distance in a Benchmark 92.
Winner of the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) during the winter, the four-year-old will drop back from 59kg in her resuming run to the 54kg minimum in the Bill Ritchie and is tipped for improvement.
Waller’s other headline entries are Vanbrugh and Torgersen.
Winner of the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at the track as a three-year-old last spring, Vanbrugh comes off a fifth to Winx in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m).
He is also nominated to take her on again in the 2016 George Main Stakes this weekend, while Torgersen comes off a second in the same lead-up race that produces Tsaritsa.
O’Shea’s second elect in futures markets Federal meanwhile comes off a first-up second to Felines at the track in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m).
He has a great Randwick track record (4-2-1-0) and is also well suited to the extra metres of the Bill Ritchie (6-3-2-0).
Other notable Bill Ritchie Handicap entries include Fred Cowell’s last start Group 3 Lord Mayors Cup winner over the mile at Doomben in May Mighty Lucky and the Matthew Dale-trained Penny Edition Stakes winner in Adelaide last time out Rocket Commander.
Check out the full Bill Ritchie Handicap 2016 nominations below, the markets out on Wednesday through Ladbrokes.com.au following final acceptances.
2016 Bill Ritchie Handicap Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 17/09/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||111x4523x5||HAPPY CLAPPER||G||6||Patrick Webster||1=||59kg||108|
|2||2x12217x22||LE ROMAIN||G||4||Kris Lees||1=||59kg||108|
|3||3151x1261x||MIGHTY LUCKY||G||7||Fred Cowell||3=||58.5kg||107|
|4||447204x77x||SPIRITJIM (FR)||H||7||Chris Waller||3=||58.5kg||107|
|5||947x400x27||SADLER’S LAKE||G||5||Chris Waller||5||55.5kg||101|
|6||57x3x12x68||COSMIC CUBE (NZ)||G||6||Chris Waller||6=||55kg||100|
|7||x2380x05x6||SONS OF JOHN||G||6||Jason Attard||6=||55kg||100|
|10||33x574126x||LADY LE FAY (NZ)||M||6||Chris Waller||10||54kg||97|
|13||16x0x02466||ZIN ZAN EDDIE||G||7||Matthew Smith||13||54kg||91|
|14||6622333×31||ROCKET COMMANDER||M||5||Matthew Dale||14||54kg||90|
|15||20x1232x15||HIS MAJESTY (IRE)||G||7||Kim Waugh||15||54kg||86|
|16||x887203x52||TORGERSEN (NZ)||H||4||Chris Waller||16||54kg||84|
|18||322x0013x7||KELLYVILLE FLYER||M||7||Jason Attard||17=||54kg||82|
|19||116x100x41||WAR JET||G||6||Joe Cleary||19||54kg||81|