Randwick trainer Pat Webster couldn't stop smiling as he looked at the Epsom Handicap weights, even though his pride and joy, Happy Clapper, was allotted the 59.5kg top weight.
“I never thought I would have the bottom weight in an Epsom, let alone the top weight,” Webster said. “He has delivered dreams for me and my family and he is such a good Randwick horse, so why not go again.
“The 59-and-a-half doesn’t worry me with him, but it is what the others have got compared to him that probably does.”
Happy Clapper won the Epsom with 57kg last year and only goes up 2.5 kilos, but in the past 12 months he has won a Canterbury Stakes and a Doncaster, and was runner-up in the Mackinnon Stakes and George Ryder Stakes, as well as running third in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“It’s a fair weight for a Doncaster winner. It is so good to say that – Doncaster winner,” Webster said, summing up for the only horse to win the summer, spring and autumn mile races at Randwick – the Villiers Stakes, Epsom and Doncaster.
“He loves his home track and we are going to keep him to big tracks from now on. We won’t pay up for the Cox Plate tomorrow because he really doesn’t like the Valley.
“I don’t think he handled Caulfield the other day, so we probably won't go back there.”
Happy Clapper, which is a $21 Epsom chance at Beteasy, will run in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, before returning home to Randwick for a series of races. He will meet Godolphin’s Kementari in Melbourne, which is likely to follow a similar path back to Randwick for the $1 million mile on September 29.
The Randwick Guineas winner has been given 55.5kg and is second pick at $8 in betting for the Epsom, which is dominated by four-year-olds. Rosehill Guineas winner D’argento holds the call at the top of the market at $6 after getting 53.5kg.
“It seems a reasonable weight for a horse with the profile of [Kementari],” Godolphin trainer James Cummings said. “We want to get through Saturday first, but he is a group 1 winner at the Randwick mile and the Epsom looks the right race for him.”
Pierata, which was the Randwick Guineas runner-up, has 54kg and shares the third line of betting with Australian Oaks winner Unforgotten at $9. She was given 52.5kg, which means premier trainer Chris Waller will have to call on several lightweight jockeys to ride his Epsom team.
Meanwhile, Avilius remains the $4 Metropolitan favourite after being given 54kg for the 2400m group 1 staying test on the October long weekend. He is unbeaten in two Australian starts and will step up to group 3 company in the Kingston Town Stakes on Saturday.
“It is a nice weight for him and it is his main target at the moment,” Cummings said.
Caulfield Cup winner Harlem was top-weight for the Metropolitan with 58kg.