It was happy times for Morphettville trainer Paul Beshara after Happy Trails came back from a disappointing result in the Cox Plate to win the final Group 1 of the 2012 Victorian Spring Racing Carnival, the $1m, Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), at Flemington on Saturday.
Happy Trails under Damien Oliver gets his nose in front on the line, picture quentinjlang.com
Happy Trails jumped well from barrier nine under Damien Oliver but it was Rolling Pin (Bowman) who quickly injected speed into the race from barrier 18. That move drew the inside runners forward and Oliver was able to sit Happy Trails one off the fence a shade worse than midfield and just behind race favourite Fawkner (Hall).
Epsom Handicap winner, Fat Al (Duric), sat outside the leader while Toorak winner, Solzhenitsyn (NZ) (Brown), sat in third place though passing the 600m Rolling Pin was setting a strong tempo and had the field well strong out.
As the field rounded the turn, the first six runners got off the fence and while Rolling Pin initially kicked clear, Hall had moved Fawkner right along the fence and has they passed the 300m Fawkner had hit the lead without spending a cent.
However, he was not to have it all is own way as Happy Trails and Secret Admirer (Avdulla) came hard down the outside. At the 150m the pair shifted in and Fawkner shifted out and the three then went together to the line.
It was a head bobbing finishing but Happy Trails, with the urgings of Damien Oliver in his ear, managed to stick his head out at the right time to get a narrow victory over Fawkner (Reset) and Secret Admirer (Dubawi).
Yosei was fourth and Wall Street fifth, The margins were a short half-head and a short-head with the time 1.35.99 on the Dead 4 track and the final 600m in 35.89.
TAB Fixed Odds reported that one happy customer who collected $45,000 after outlaying $3,000 at $15 on Happy Trails late in betting. As a result, it was backed from $16 into $13. Some of the wagers on the race in included Fawkner $7,000 at $5.50 and $4,000 at $5.50.
Happy Trails was 10th in the Cox Plate over 2040m at Moonee Valley on October 27th after winning the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nan Stakes over 1600m on September 15th.
“I’ve never felt this good in my life. When we won the Dato it felt good but this is the best,” said Beshara.
“This horse is a really honest horse and he just gives you 150%, that’s all he does. He is always there but today is his day and he deserves it.”
“He got laid on in the Cox Plate and it was not fair when everyone rubbished him and said he should not have been there because he should have been there. Every horse that goes into the Cox Plate, they deserve their place there, they earn it.
“That is what he does when he gets into his rhythm, he wins and today is his Group 1.
“He will go out to the paddock now and we will bring him back in the autumn so he can have a go at the Doncaster.
Damien Oliver celebrates, picture quentinjlang.com
“Damien has always stuck by me and if I ever need anyone to ride trackwork he comes down so he deserves this win and so does this horse. Today Damien rode him how he should be ridden and he just wins,” he said.
The win was Group 1 win number 98 for Oliver and his first Emirates Stakes win.
“It has eluded me for a long time this race so it’s nice to finally get it, and nice to get it for such lovely people in Paul Beshara and Dickmann family,” he said.
“This horse has promised so much and he has really delivered this spring so it was great to get the Group 1. He always showed so much but it was just coming too soon for him and he has really blossomed this campaign. He has really come into his own this preparation.
“It was their dream to run in the Cox Plate and he did not enjoy much luck, he copped a lot of buffeting in that race and he has done a good job to bring him back for this race and have him so well.
“I wanted to be a little closer but there was a bit of pressure early so I just let the horse be comfortable.
“I knew I was on a fit horse so I started to move into it a little early and Secret Admirer and Fawkner came to him but he just outstayed them and was too strong,” he said.
Happy Trails and Paul Beshara, picture quentinjlang.com
Happy Trails, a five-year-old gelding by Good Journey out of the Perugino mare Madame Flurry, was purchased by Beshara for $11,000 at the 2009 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale. After 29 starts he has won five races and placed in 11.
The Emirates Stakes win doubled his previous earnings to take his total to $1,204,350 for owners P and Mrs E Dickmannn, J and Mrs K Dickmann, Ms N Dickmann and P Swanell.
Race 6, picture TVN
Group 1 Emirates Stakes full result