Trainer Patrick Webster has scored Happy Clapper's return trial ‘a 10 out of 10’ as the crowd favourite took an important step towards another Sydney Spring
Happy Clapper returned in the second heat of the morning at Randwick and was given an easy time by Hugh Bowman in a 900m trial won by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s Dawn Passage.
The multiple Group I winner finished 4-1/2 lengths off the eventual winner but hit the line under a hold from Bowman.
Webster was pleased with the display.
“Hughie had to go to the physio straight after because his arms were hurting so bad from where he was pulling him,” Webster said.
“It was 10 out of 10 for us.
“The trial and the way he has pulled up has been great.
“It’s the best I have seen him back for a long, long time. He is well and we didn’t know when he was bleeding but got the legal treatment for him.
“It’s all good.”
Happy Clapper suffered an exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage when finishing eighth in the All-Star Mile in March before finishing fourth in the Queen Elizabeth, won by the now-retired Winx.
Webster said Happy Clapper has showed no signs of similar issues this time in and believes the nine-year-old has plenty of racing in front of him still.
“I don’t look at it as if he is nine, I just look at how well the horse is, how he is going and age is not a thing,” Webster said.
“As a matter a fact I think he is better now than he was as a six-year-old so age is not a thing. It is how well you look after the age and he is very well looked after.
“He doesn’t get galloped a lot and does a lot of light work.
“He gives us a lot to look forward to.”
Webster has his sights on another two Group I starts this spring. Happy Clapper will be given another trial next month and will make his return in the Group I Winx Stakes
at Randwick on August 24 before running in the Colgate Optic White Stakes
on September 21.
“That’s his normal thing but the only thing is he usually runs second to (Winx),” Webster said.
“The last time in he ran second first-up and then second, second-up over the mile so that’s his go. 1400m first-up, second-up over the mile.”