Cox Plate still on Happy Clapper's agenda

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October 9, 2017 - 05:54 PM

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While there are concerns Winx may have frightened off some of her Cox Plate rivals with her devastating display in the Turnbull Stakes, Happy Clapper's name will be there when third declarations are taken.

Trainer Pat Webster said the Cox Plate 2017 was still on the table for the Epsom Handicap winner who will run in Saturday's Group Three Craven Plate at Randwick.

Happy Clapper headed the 20 nominations taken on Monday for the weight-for-age race which will be his third attempt at 2000 metres.

Although he has yet to win at the distance, Happy Clapper's form is not without merit.

He ran third in the 2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, sixth in the Cox Plate and fifth in this year's Queen Elizabeth, the latter two won by Winx who relegated him to second in the George Main Stakes before the Epsom.

Webster said the gelding had recovered well from the Epsom and his routine was unchanged.

"He does exactly the same thing between runs," Webster said.

"He has an easy first week and then steps it up the second week.

"So he will have a serious gallop on Tuesday morning. He can't get any fitter so it's just a case of maintaining that.

"We will paying up tomorrow for the Cox Plate and the intention is to definitely run if all goes well."

Happy Clapper is the $1.90 favourite in first markets on the $500,000 Craven Plate, the major support race on the program featuring the $10 million Everest.

The Chris Waller-trained Mackintosh is at $8 and the only other horse under double figures.

There will be 42 country-trained horses vying for the 14 spots in the $200,000 Anniversary Highway (1400m).

Murwillumbah-based Matt Dunn, the leading trainer of Highway Handicap winners, has eight entries including Bronzed Venom, Cascata Rossa and Dia De Reyes, who ran the trifecta in that order in Saturday's Highway Handicap.