Nine-year-old Happy Clapper can add to his retirement fund if he can grab the major portion of the prizemoney in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Happy Clapper is among the nominations for the 2020 Apollo Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Happy Clapper is among the nominations for the 2020 Apollo Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

The veteran galloper can’t go on forever but already has built up a handy bank with over $7 million in the account courtesy of three Group 1 wins included in his twelve victories from forty-four starts and trainer Pat Webster hinted that when his stable star retires, he might too.

“I’ve just taken on an apprentice, Brandon Griffiths, so I guess retirement is off for the moment,” Webster told AAP.

“He is a good rider and I’m keen to see him up and going well.

“He was at Hawkesbury but he has moved to Randwick to give it a go in town and I want to help him do that.”

But for the moment it is business as usual and Happy Clapper is primed to commence another Sydney Autumn Carnival campaign in Saturday’s weight for age Apollo Stakes on a rain affected track.

“He will run,” Webster said.

“I’m not keen on him having a hard run first-up in the wet but he has to start in the Apollo because it fits in with his program going ahead to the Chipping Norton.

“He is fit and well and his two trials have been good so I think he’s ready to go.”

Happy Clapper was spelled after winning the Group 3 $500,000 Yulong Australia Craven Plate (2000m) at Randwick on October 19 and has had the benefit of two Randwick barrier trials in preparation for his return to the race track.

The Randwick track for the Apollo Stakes race day was rated a Heavy 8 on Tuesday with more rain expected in the Sydney region in the lead up to the weekend.

Happy Clapper chased home super star mare Winx when runner up in last year’s Apollo Stakes and in the  Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick and the evergreen war horse has to be given a good chance of going one better in one or both of the weight for age contests.

Happy Clapper might be the sentimental favourite for the Apollo Stakes, but the bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au have him sharing the second line of betting at $5 with the Group 1 winning ex-Kiwi mare Verry Elleegant and John Thompson’s Dreamforce behind the James Cummings trained Alizee who sits at the top of the early market at $3.20.

Early betting for the 2020 Apollo Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.20 Alizee, $5 Dreamforce, Happy Clapper, Verry Elleegant, $11 Danzdanzdance, $12 Brandenburg, $14 Master Of Wine, $17 Cradle Mountain, Hush Writer, Vegadaze, $26 Come Play With Me, Life Less Ordinary, $41 Glenall, $67 Angel Of Truth.

Nominations for the 2020 Apollo Stakes (1400m)

# Last 10 Horse Sex Age Trainer Ballot Weight Hcp Rating
1 x2284x231x HAPPY CLAPPER G 9 Patrick Webster 1 59kg 118
2 306x1374x2 ALIZEE M 5 James Cummings 2 57kg 115
3 8132x1205x DREAMFORCE G 7 John Thompson 3 59kg 113
4 2111x9410x VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ) M 4 Chris Waller 4 57kg 111
5 211112617x COME PLAY WITH ME G 5 Chris Waller 5 59kg 109
6 124x03374x LIFE LESS ORDINARY (IRE) G 8 Chris Waller 6 59kg 108
7 5237x5955x DANZDANZDANCE M 5 Chris Waller 7 57kg 107
8 x16621816x HUSH WRITER (JPN) G 5 Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott 8 59kg 105
9 511x65800x ANGEL OF TRUTH G 4 Gwenda Markwell 9 59kg 101
10 44×6012325 GLENALL G 6 Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes 10 59kg 100
11 2x85403x71 CRADLE MOUNTAIN G 6 Clare Cunningham 11 59kg 98
12 x322x2311x MASTER OF WINE (GER) G 5 Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes 12 59kg 96
13 11125x5x6 VEGADAZE G 4 Anthony Cummings 13 59kg 89
14 23x22122x BRANDENBURG (NZ) C 3 John Sargent 14 55.5kg 81

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.