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Happy Clapper goes chasing Winx again

Sydney trainer Pat Webster has nothing but admiration for Winx.

His stable star Happy Clapper has raced the great mare on five occasions, registering Group One second placings in a Doncaster Mile and George Main Stakes.

The pair meet again in Saturday’s Cox Plate at Moonee Valley and Webster would like nothing more than to crash Winx’s party as she chases a record-equalling third straight win in the weight-for-age contest.

Webster says you never know what’s around the corner in a horse race but admits it will take a monumental effort for the mare to be beaten.

“I was reading this week where six blokes in a marathon took a wrong turn and the seventh one won,” Webster said.

“He’s a fit horse, in career best form and we didn’t travel all this way to run second, although we have before.

“He’s earned $1 million chasing her home before so I’ll settle for another $440,000 for running second to her tomorrow.”

The presence of Winx almost cost Happy Clapper, and Webster, their sole Group One victory.

Running second to Winx in the George Main left Happy Clapper flat and Webster wanting more time leading into the Epsom Handicap two weeks later.

“I wasn’t really happy with him going into the Epsom and even on raceday I wasn’t happy with him, so it was a bonus winning it,” Webster said.

“It was probably the worst he’s been this time in and that’s because he chased her home with ear muffs on.

“Chris (Waller) must have felt sorry for us that day, because he’s since taken them off.

“He’s done really well previously to get over it when he’s run against her but with some, she finishes them up for their prep.”

Webster said Damien Oliver won’t need any instructions saying it’s a privilege to have him ride the gelding who runs in the race for the second year running.

Oliver won’t go into Saturday’s race with the attitude of the Cox Plate being a one-horse race.

“You still want to believe you can win otherwise you’re defeated already,” Oliver said.

“I’ll just be trying to ride my horse to give him the best possible chance and see what happens from there.”

Winx remains the $1.15 favourite with Royal Symphony second pick, firming from $18 to $15 since betting opened on Tuesday while Happy Clapper has been a constant $23 chance.

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