The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Sydney horseman Patrick Webster is over the moon with news out this week that Winx was Melbourne bound earlier than expected, opening up a 2017 Craven Plate win at Randwick for his galloper Happy Clapper.
Happy Clapper will finally get some Winx-relief when he lines-up in the lucrative Group 3 $500,000 Craven Plate (2000m) on The Everest Day, October 14, after trainer Chris Waller confirmed plans to race the superstar mare a week earlier in Victoria.
Winx heads towards her third consecutive Ladbrokes Cox Plate win on October 28 at Moonee Valley and will likely make her Flemington debut in the lead-up to that on October 7 in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
Success in both races would see Winx become the first Turnbull Stakes – Cox Plate double winner in a single season since fellow champion mare, triple Melbourne Cup hero Makybe Diva (2005).
Original indicators were that Winx would have her lead-up into the Group 1 $3 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) via the Craven Plate.
Her bypassing the race means that Webster is now confident his Teofilo seven-year-old Happy Clapper can take out the half-a-million-dollar feature.
“We’ve run second to her a few times, someone else can have a turn in Melbourne,” he told Racing Victoria.
Happy Clapper has faced off against Winx under race conditions five times to date including his 2016 Doncaster Mile second and a sixth in last year’s Cox Plate results.
The veteran won the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) first-up on September 2 and then took on the world’s best mare again last Saturday in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m).
In a brave run, Happy Clapper led throughout and held on after Winx ran him down late to finish runner-up in the race.
Happy Clapper is now the $4.60 favourite in futures markets at Ladbrokes.com.au to win Saturday week’s Group 1 $1 million Epsom Handicap (1600m) over the Randwick mile.
Last Sydney Spring Racing Carnival the horse was fourth past the post, just over a half-length off the Epsom Handicap winner Hauraki.
He also holds a Cox Plate nomination again in 2017 and could head to Melbourne after attempting the Epsom Handicap – Craven Plate double.
Current all-in Cox Plate betting markets have Winx odds-on at $1.50 to win the weight-for-age championship for the third straight year, while Happy Clapper is a $41 roughie.
Winx also dominates the early Turnbull Stakes odds at a short $1.18 pre-nominations despite never having been tested at the Flemington straight.
To back Happy Clapper in the Epsom Handicap 2017 and Winx to win her next race at the right spring racing odds head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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