Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Nothing betas Winx in the 2017 George Main Stakes this Saturday in Sydney but rival trainer Pat Webster is more than satisfied to settle for second behind the super mare with his in-form galloper Happy Clapper.
Eleven horses are currently nominated for the Group 1 $500,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) over the Royal Randwick mile on the weekend, but all the money is on Chris Waller’s star Winx to make it 20 straight wins and 13 Group 1 career victories.
The six-year-old daughter of Street Cry is third-up after two closer than predicted victories, but looks set to do it a little easier this Saturday on way to tilt at a third Ladbrokes Cox Plate trophy in Melbourne next month.
Unsurprisingly Winx is the odds-on favourite in pre-field George Main Stakes odds paying $1.10 through Ladbrokes.com.au to take out the race run this spring as the Colgate Optic White Stakes.
One of the closest in all-in George Main Stakes betting at $16 is Webster’s evergreen seven-year-old Happy Clapper out to be the first of that age to win since the Lee Freedman-trained Durbridge back in 1994.
The Teofilo gelding is second-up on the weekend and has outstanding four two runs in with a trio of wins and a second from six previous starts at that stage of a preparation.
Happy Clapper kicked off his spring a fortnight ago at the Randwick track winning the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m), but Webster is realistic about the chances of making it two on the trot in a race featuring Winx.
“At the end of the day, we just paddle our own canoe. As long as he gets through the race in good order, we will be happy,” Webster told the Herald Sun this week.
Saturday will be the galloper’s fifth encounter under race conditions with the mighty mare, his closest finish being a second to Winx in the 2016 Doncaster Mile.
Happy Clapper was second again in this year’s Doncaster behind It’s Somewhat, before a fifth behind Winx in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on back-to-back Saturdays in April.
On Saturday all the other runners in the George Main Stakes field are likely running for second at best, but Webster said that $94,000 wasn’t a bad offering for the runner-up and better than the alternative which would be a run in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) on the same card.
“We will definitely run in the George Main,” he said.
“If you did the sums, it was $84,000 to the winner in the Bill Ritchie and he would have had to carry about 60kg on a 53kg limit.
“But the George Main is weight-for-age and a more suitable race for Happy Clapper.
“We will cruise around behind Winx and what will happen, happens. It is $94,000 for second.”
Looking further ahead this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival, Webster is planning a run for Happy Clapper on September 30 in the Group 1 $1 million Epsom Handicap (1600m).
“There is still improvement in him and this race will have him spot on for the Epsom Handicap at the end of the month,” he said.
Futures Epsom Handicap 2017 odds have the horse as the $9 second elect behind another good Waller mare, Egg Tart ($5).
Happy Clapper lined-up in last year’s Epsom Handicap and finished a close fourth just over a half-length off the winner Hauraki.
To back Happy Clapper for a place in the George Main Stakes 2017 results on Saturday and for access to the best upcoming Group 1 spring racing odds online visit Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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