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A firm track swan song for Happy Trails

Happy Trails has run in his last Cox Plate but his trainer is keen to give him the chance to bow out of racing on a better note.

The rain on Saturday at Moonee Valley derailed the nine-year-old’s chances in his fifth Cox Plate and he finished last, more than 14 lengths from the winner, Winx.

Paul Beshara was deflated to see the veteran come in at the tail of the field with many expecting the trainer to announce Happy Trails’ his retirement.

But Beshara would like to take him to Perth for one more race.

“Everything was looking good and then down came the heavens,” Beshara said.

“He can’t handle that sort of ground . We’ll give him one more try on some firm ground and see where we go from there.”

Just where that last start may be will be determined in the coming weeks.

Happy Trails won the 2014 Mackinnon Stakes with this year’s race, now known as the Emirates Stakes, run a week later on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival and worth $2 million.

However Beshara is looking further afield.

“I’d love to take him to Perth for the 1800 metre race and see what happens from there,” Beshara said.

Beshara said the Kingston Town Stakes at Ascot on December 3 could be the gelding’s swan song.

The Emirates is an option for Cox Plate fifth-placed Awesome Rock, another not suited by the soft track.

His co-trainer Leon Corstens said Awesome Rock was within a heavy shower of being withdrawn from the race.

Under the circumstances Corstens said Awesome Rock’s performance was a “super run”.

“If the track was downgraded we told the owners we would have scratched the horse,” Corstens said.

Corstens described Winx as one of the best horses he had seen in his long career in racing and said even with favourable conditions the best Awesome Rock could have done was finish second.

A decision on an Emirates Stakes start will be made later in the week.

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