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Pat Webster happy if Clapper runs second

Trainer Pat Webster hopes Happy Clapper (l) can again finish second to Winx (r) in the QE Stakes.

Happy Clapper has finished second to Winx five times and his trainer Pat Webster is hoping for the same result in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Webster is under no illusions the best horse he has ever trained can beat the best Chris Waller or anyone else is likely to train.

Winx will run her final race in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth (2000m) at Randwick and, if she wins as expected, will retire with 25 Group One victories.

She has not been beaten in four years and is aiming for her 33rd successive win, and Webster says it is hers for the taking.

“She’s a freak,” he said.

“But I’d like to think the Clapper can run second. I’m hoping for top four at least and he has always done his best to be competitive.

“It hasn’t paid off as far as beating her and I’ve put the white flag up. I surrender.

“Second is what I’m hoping for.”

Happy Clapper has three Group One trophies of his own, the 2017 Epsom Handicap and last year’s Doncaster Mile and Canterbury Stakes.

Like Winx, Happy Clapper is near the end of his career and Webster is taking things one day at a time.

The gelding spent a mandatory three months on the sidelines after a bleed last spring then was found to have an internal bleed after the recent All-Star Mile in Melbourne

“After that it’s race by race with him now,” Webster said.

The last time they met in the Chipping Norton Stakes, Happy Clapper led the field with Winx the only horse to run him down.

Like most, Webster expects English visitor He’s Eminent to take up the running in the Queen Elizabeth and he will change Happy Clapper’s blinkers to winkers to help him settle over the 2000m.

“If it was 1400 or 1600 metres, I wouldn’t take the blinkers off but over 2000 I’m hoping it will help,” Webster said.

“I think there will be pressure up front from the English horse so we’ll see what happens.”

Winx was at $1.07 on Friday to win her swan song in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 40,000 at Randwick.

He’s Eminent was a $23 chance with Winx’s long-time adversaries Happy Clapper and Godolphin’s Hartnell both at $34.

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