Pat Webster is an old school trainer and, while not afraid to try new things, he likes to keep his horses to the routines he has used for decades.
So while many of his 2019 George Main Stakes opponents will step out at trackwork for a fast gallop on Tuesday, Happy Clapper has completed that part of his build-up to Saturday’s Group One race.
“I like to have that extra day up my sleeve in case he works too hard or doesn’t work hard enough,” Webster said.
“Bart Cummings used to do it so it’s from his handbook.
“It works for me and it works for Clapper and he is perfect heading to the George Main.”
There were 19 entries taken on Monday for the 1600m-race headed by Happy Clapper on a 118 rating and Avilius on 117.
Trainer Chris Waller nominated 10 but that number is likely to be reduced by more than half as he attempts to win the race for the sixth straight year.
Samadoubt, the surprise winner of the Group One Winx Stakes and successful again in the Group Two Chelmsford is among the entries.
Happy Clapper finished second in the Winx, half a length behind the Bjorn Baker-trained Samadoubt who led from the outset and strung the field out.
“Some people told me they thought Happy Clapper should have been closer but he was the only horse who made ground on Samadoubt that day so I wasn’t disappointed,” Webster said.
“Samadoubt did the same thing in the Chelmsford so he’s in form and John Thompson’s horse Dreamforce is there as well so it’s a strong race.”
Two of Happy Clapper’s three Group One wins, the 2017 Epsom Handicap and 2018 Doncaster Mile, have been over the Randwick 1600m.
Now Happy Clapper is a nine-year-old, his trainer takes the gelding along once race at a time.
He will stay in Sydney this spring with the 2019 Epsom Handicap a possibility despite the gelding’s top weight of 59.5kg.
“The Craven Plate is also there but we’ll see,” Webster said.