Happy Clapper will again have to take on Winx when he returns in the Apollo Stakes at Randwick.
Happy Clapper’s trainer Pat Webster is used to seeing his stable star chase Winx home and expects the same in the Apollo Stakes.
For Webster, the priority is that the gelding returns safe and sound after his first start since his spring campaign was halted when he bled during the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington in September, incurring a three-month ban.
Multiple Group One winner Happy Clapper is one of four horses among the 14 entries for Saturday’s Group Two Apollo (1400m) at Randwick not from the Chris Waller stable.
Ciaron Maher and David Eustace have entered Aloisia and Mask Of Time while Kris Lees has nominated Le Romain.
The Waller-trained Winx of course dominates the opening market at $1.12 with Happy Clapper next at $11 and Le Romain at $15.
Webster views Le Romain as Happy Clapper’s main rival for second place.
“Le Romain is a very good horse and the one could beat Clapper home,” Webster said.
“But I’m really pleased with Happy Clapper. We’ve had no problems with his preparation and he’s going well.”
Happy Clapper won a barrier trial last Thursday with Blake Shinn aboard but with the jockey suspended, Sam Clipperton, recently returned from Hong Kong, takes the ride.
“I was pleased with the trial,” Webster said. “I wanted him to have a good hit-out so he didn’t have to do too much this week.
“The fact he won the trial was a bonus.”
Webster is hoping Happy Clapper gets a berth in the $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington on March 16 which is also a goal for Le Romain.
Winx will follow her normal pattern to the Chipping Norton, George Ryder and Queen Elizabeth Stakes which, all going well, is expected to be her swan song.
Judging by her performance in a public gallop at Randwick on Saturday, there is no reason to think she is not going well, with her jockey Hugh Bowman boosted by her work-out.
Bowman declared the champion felt as good as ever and he had no reason to contemplate anything other than her 30th consecutive win on Saturday.
Waller said having had that hit-out, the mare would have an easy week leading into Saturday.