Pat Webster has given Happy Clapper the go-ahead to run in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes but will reassure himself with a second opinion.
To the experienced trainer’s eye, the gelding has come through his win in Saturday’s Doncaster Mile as well as he could have hoped before he backs up to take on Winx in the $4 millionQueen Elizabeth Stakes.
“He has eaten up and he worked well this morning (Monday) and has shown no signs of tiredness,” Webster said.
“I’ve accepted with him already just to make sure I don’t miss the early deadline at 8am.
“My vet will go over him tomorrow just to make sure everything is in order and he’s as good a I think he is.
“If there was any sign that something wasn’t right I wouldn’t run him.”
Happy Clapper’s Doncaster win was his third at Group One level this season after victories in the Epsom Handicap (1600m) in the spring and Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at the first start of his autumn campaign.
Although he has never won at 2000m, Happy Clapper has performed well enough to suggest to Webster he can.
“He should have won the Craven Plate when he was narrowly beaten but he ran the distance out,” he said.
“And he ran second in the Emirates at Flemington. He hasn’t done well in the Cox Plate and just doesn’t seem to like Moonee Valley.”
Happy Clapper was beaten in the Emirates at Flemington in November by Tosen Stardom who was well beaten in the Doncaster and has been retired.
The Darren Weir-trained Tosen Stardom will now be rested ahead ahead of his new career at Woodside Park Stud in the upcoming breeding season.
Winx is the $1.15 favourite to defend the Queen Elizabeth with Happy Clapper next at $9 ahead of Tuesday’s declaration of the final field.
Kerrin McEvoy will ride Happy Clapper with Blake Shinn, who has been aboard for the gelding’s three Group One wins, making a commitment to Cox Plate runner-up Humidor
Winx will be attempting her 18th Group One win and her 25th consecutive victory.