Three heavyweights of South Australian racing are set to resume under weight-for-age conditions at Morphettville on Saturday.
The Spring Stakes has attracted 17 nominations and most interest will focus on Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed, popular stayer Alcopop and the well-performed Happy Trails.
All three were among 222 entries for the Caulfield Cup when nominations for the $2.65 million handicap closed on Tuesday.
Southern Speed will return after a solid autumn which netted Group One placings in the C F Orr Stakes and the Australian Cup.
Alcopop and Happy Trails have been cleared to launch their spring campaigns in the 1200m sprint after Morphettville barrier trial appearances on Monday.
On a comeback trail after a serious knee injury, Alcopop resumed in the Group Three race last year before winning the Penny Edition Stakes at his next start.
He went amiss in Caulfield Stakes two starts later.
Now an eight-year-old, Alcopop was sixth in a 1000m heat at Morphettville with Matthew Neilson in the saddle.
Happy Trails surprised trainer Paul Beshara with his trial win over 1000m.
“He doesn’t usually trial that well but he is a lot more mature this time in,” Beshara said.
“He actually ran on in between horses which is a good sign.”
Beshara will keep Happy Trails to weight-for-age racing before deciding on a spring target.
“After Saturday, he’ll go to Melbourne for the Memsie Stakes and the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes and I’ll make my mind up after that,” he said.
Happy Trails, who returned to Beshara’s stables 50kg heavier, hasn’t raced since his sixth placing to More Joyous in the Doncaster Mile.
“He’s classed as the unluckiest horse in Australia and I reckon that’s about right because he should have probably won the Doncaster,” Beshara said.