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Happy to chase star prize

Multiple Group 1 winner Happy Clapper (Teofilo {IRE}) has been set for The All-Star Mile at Flemington.

“It was our plan to run Happy Clapper in the All-Star Mile from the moment the race was announced, because the prize money is obviously very appealing and the mile is his ideal distance,” trainer Pat Webster said.

With 10 spots in the field selected by on-line voting which opens on January 21 after nominations close six days earlier, Happy Clapper will attract plenty of attention.

Happy Clapper

“He's a very popular horse, so I'd probably be a little disappointed and surprised if he didn't get his chance,” Webster said.

"Everywhere you go, people have heard of him.

Happy Clapper has wins in the G1 Doncaster Mile, the G1 Epsom H. and the G1 Canterbury S. on his CV.

He hasn’t raced since suffering a bleeding attack when fifth in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington in September.

Other early nominations for The All-Star Mile include Sky Boy (Pendragon {NZ}), Main Stage (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}), and the G1 Caulfield Guineas runner-up Vassilator (NZ) (Zacinto {GB}), Foundry (IRE) (Galileo {IRE}) and Penny To Sell (NZ) (Pentire {GB}).

The top 10 in voting will be announced on February 21 with the remaining four spots selected by Racing Victoria to be announced on March 4.

McEvoy far from pleased

Tony McEvoy was a far from happy trainer when he saw the field for the Basil Nolan Jnr H. at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

His high-priced filly Just Zerene (Zoustar), who is trying to win her way into the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic, was left second on the ballot.

“I mean horses are trying to qualify for a Magic Millions. If the start is no good make it 1100 metres or they could have split the race into two heats,” McEvoy said.

Under a local rule in Queensland, only 10 2-year-olds are allowed to run from the Eagle Farm 1000 metre start between August and February.

Just Zerene was an $800,000 Magic Millions purchase for the China Horse Club and is a half-sister to the multiple Group 3 winner Sharnee Rose (Nadeem).

It is an impressive pedigree with their dam Farasha (NZ) (Jeune GB) out of a half-sister to Snippets (Lunchtime {GB}) and to the dam of I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit {IRE}).

Other family members include the G1 Sir Rupert Clarke S. winner Rewaaya (Singspiel {IRE}) and the G1 Doomben Cup winner Sense Of Occasion (Street Sense {USA}).

Support for injured jockey

Injured jockey Maija Vance visited Haunui Farm this week where the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association presented her with a cheque for just over $7800.

The Cambridge jockey suffered extensive injuries in a fall at Rotorua on September 16.

Two of her vertebrae in her spine were fractured with another three out of line and she underwent a four-hour operation to have rods and a metal plate inserted.

Mark Chitty with Maija Vance

She also suffered two punctured lungs, several broken ribs, facial injuries including six broken teeth, and she almost bit her tongue off during the smash.

“I have some feeling in my right leg, but at this stage none in my left,” Vance said.

“I can stand and walk with the frame, but my brain has to tell my left leg what to do, that’s why it is braced so it stays upright.

“I am making good progress and our house is now all set up with ramps and things to cope with the wheelchair.”

The Auckland branch of the NZTBA, along with Head Office and Dunstan Nutrition contributed to the fund to help with Vance’s rehabilitation.

Sweet for The Candy Man

The Candy Man (Casino Prince) provided Group 1 winning trainer Barry Baldwin with one of the most satisfying wins of his career at Doomben on Wednesday.

The 5-year-old overcame adversity to notch his maiden success after a career-threatening injury when he suffered a shattered jaw and had to survive a nine-hour operation before having 18 months away from racing.

“It was a stable accident where he got strung up in his stall,” Baldwin said.

“He ended up with seven plates in his head to correct his jaw. He was operated on at the Gatton vet's surgery and they are very proud of their work.

“Lucky Pippos part-owns him and he has spent thousands of dollars on the operation and getting him back to the races.

“I am really happy for Lucky and the other owners. The Candy Man gave us a fright at the start but he can go on to win better races for the owners.”

The Candy Man is a grey gelding racing in the colours of the famous galloper Gunsynd (Sunset Hue), who was part-owned by Pippos' brother George.

Filly set another Group 1 task

Xpression (NZ) (Showcasing {GB}) is being readied for another Group 1 bid.

The Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen-trained filly has the Levin Classic on her programme and will have a lead-up run in Saturday’s Hyslop Plumbing 3YO Premier at Awapuni.

“I don’t believe she is a stayer and it’s the last crack at her own age group at Group 1 company at a mile or below in this country,” Lowry said.

“I’d like to think she was a Group 1 winner by the end of the season and I see the Levin Classic as the last really good chance of doing that.


“We’ll probably give her another ten day spell after the Levin Classic and reassess (our options) after that.”

Xpression has been freshened since she finished third in the G1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas at Riccarton.

“Her run in the 1000 Guineas was disappointing,” Lowry said. “It was okay, she learned a lot, but you always like to win.

“She’s had a ten-day break in the paddock. She had a gallop on Tuesday and seems to be in the right fitness to go towards Saturday with the intention of running in the Levin Classic.

“I’m happy with her going into Saturday with the thought that it will further her fitness for January 12.

“She isn’t screwed down at the moment, it’s really just a lead in race for the Group 1.”

Expensive youngster delivers

High-priced yearling Autumn Flash (Snitzel) posted the first winning strike of his career when successful at Matamata on Wednesday.

He was making his third appearance from the stable of Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott and had placed at his previous start at Te Rapa.

“The horse has done a good job to quicken off a slow pace,” Scott said.

“Hopefully, he’ll take good improvement from this and crack on to some good races over the summer.”

Autumn Flash is raced by Hermitage Thoroughbreds and was a $600,000 purchase at the Inglis Sydney Easter Yearling Sale.

Autumn Flash at Matamata

The colt is a half-brother to the Listed Welcome S. winner Sassy ‘N’ Smart (Smart Missile) with their dam Panorama Ridge (USA) (Empire Maker {USA}).

She is a daughter of the dual G1 Prix de Diane and G1 Prix du Moulin winner Nebraska Tornado (USA) (Storm Cat {USA}) and a half-sister to the G2 Prix Eugene Adam winner Burning Sun (USA) (Danzig {USA}).