Epsom Handicap winner Happy Clapper will have one lead-up run into his next G1 assignment.
Pat Webster has mapped out the formative stages for Happy Clapper’s autumn campaign, with the gelding to have an abbreviated approach to the Doncaster Mile.
Webster said the seven-year-old would tackle the iconic $3 million Group 1 race at Randwick on April 7 with just one lead-up run.
The Randwick trainer said Happy Clapper would resume in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 10 and then have a barrier trial before he attempts to better back-to-back second placings in the Doncaster Handicap (1600m).
Webster ran Happy Clapper in the Listed National Sprint (1400m) in Canberra and then the Group Three Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) before last year’s race in which he finished half-a-length behind It’s Somewhat.
In 2016 Webster used the Canterbury Stakes and Group One George Ryder Stakes (1500m) as stepping stones before Happy Clapper was runner-up to Winx.
Webster had contemplated kicking Happy Clapper off in the Newcastle Newmarket on March 22 or the George Ryder a day later at Rosehill before settling on the Canterbury Stakes.
“I’ve decided to go with the Canterbury Stakes and a trial. He’ll be 65-70 per cent first-up and then it’ll be the Doncaster,” he said.
Happy Clapper did his first pace work on Tuesday after enjoying a well-earned break.
“He’s put on 55-60 kilos. He usually puts on 15-20 so at the moment he’s in a good place,” Webster said.
Happy Clapper earned more than $2 million of his $3.5 million prize money in 2017 and won his first Group One trophy in the Epsom Handicap in September.
He was also runner-up in the George Main Stakes to Winx and second to Tosen Stardom in the Emirates Stakes at Flemington.
“It was a great prep. We had a lot of fun,” Webster said.