Dual Group One winner Happy Clapper again takes on Winx in the George Ryder Stakes.
Pat Webster looks to the future as he contemplates another seemingly impossible task against champion Winx.
The veteran trainer has no qualms about Happy Clapper again featuring in a supporting role when Winx attempts to claim a record-setting 17th Group One win at Rosehill on Saturday.
Webster accepts just being in the frame will enhance Happy Clapper’s legacy.
“My daughter knows nothing about racing and she said ‘Look on the bright side Dad, at least they’ll still be watching Clapper in 50 years time. He’s run second to Winx that many times they’ll be watching him too’,” Webster said.
It will be the seventh time the pair have met, and the closest Happy Clapper has come to the mare was the George Main Stakes last September, when he was 1-1/4 lengths shy of the world’s highest rated horse.
While some trainers and connections choose to avoid Winx, Webster happily uses her as a means to an end.
After winning the Group One Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on his return on March 10, the Group One George Ryder Stakes (1500m) is a stepping stone for Happy Clapper to the Winx-free $3 million Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 7.
“There’s no point in us dodging her,” Webster said.
“This race is part of his prep. Going into the Epsom, he ran second to her in the George Main, that was part of his prep.”
Happy Clapper was the $8 second elect for the Doncaster Mile with the TAB on Friday behind Godolphin colt Kementari ($4), who will bee measures against Winx for the first time in the Ryder.
Winx was at $1.10 to win her third George Ryder Stakes while Kementari ($7) and Happy Clapper ($14) were tipped to battle out the minor placings.
“We’ve got him in a good place at the moment,” Webster said.
“Second prize money is $190,000, third is good prize money ($98,000) and at the end of the day it should top him off for the Doncaster. It’s all good.”