Horse racing is all about opinions and backing it up with statistics. Up until last weekend, I was a bit suspect at Happy Trails having a chance to actually win the Cox Plate. This all changed with More Joyous failing on the weekend and Pierro not staying on with a fast pace up front and a shocking ride.
As you know, Green Moon has been well backed into a short second favourite in the Cox Plate. Let’s look at the last two runs of Green Moon and Happy Trails and more importantly the statistics.
Let’s start with the key statistics of Happy Trails
1. Happy Trails is horse that handles weight
2 wins 2 places from 5 rides with 59kg.
2. Goes well at Moonee Valley
1 win 1 place from 3 rides at Moonee Valley
3. Prefers a dry track
Has a better win and place rating on Good than a dead track. Has never won on slow or heavy (although does go well having never missed a place on these surfaces)
Let’s now look at Green Moon
1. Has never won with 59kg
The statistics for Green Moon are actually quite scary. 0 wins 1 second and 0 thirds from 5 starts with 59kg.
2. Never won at Moonee Valley
Not a major factor as he did go very close two back
So now we have those out of the way let’s look at the real information.
Happy Trails first meeting with Green Moon was in the Memsie (WFA) at Caulfield on Good ground over 1400. Happy Trails stayed on for second in a medium run 1400m race (1:23.270) in that grade. Green Moon finished 5th being ridden further back than expected (still 4.7L from winning).
They both then went to Moonee Valley and on a Good track once again in another WFA. This time up to 1600m. Happy Trails got the perfect sit (needed it) in a fastly run race over 1600 in 1:35.560. Green Moon came hard and looked the winner for 100m but just didn’t get there.
The Turnbull Stakes was a race ran for the swoopers. Green Moon got a very easy run while Happy Trails had to do a lot of work on the inside where nothing won all day. Green Moon was 1kg better off that day and down to 55.5kg (HT 56.5kg). The race on a dead ground was run in a blistering 2:02.11 and was set up for the swoopers. In that race, you can take a fair bit out of December Draw staying on for third. You have to remember, Seville had shown NOTHING special in four runs in Australia (two back was ok but nothing special) and was simply suited by the pace of the race.
Now that we have that out of the way… Ocean Park didn’t win with any great distances to what are substandard horses over that distance in Sincero and Alcopop. So we have already covered off the top 5. Then we get to Rekindled Interest. This is a horse that at $10 is WAY unders. Finished behind Happy Trails the last three starts.
So how will Happy Trails win? The barrier draw is the most important part of the race for this horse. Barriers 1-7 are essential. This will mean he can kick up to sit 3rd or 4th.. hopefully on the rail as previous runs.
Moonee Valley can have leader bias in their tracks. If this is the case, this will certainly suit Happy Trails on the day.
There doesn’t seem to be any SUPER leader speed horse in the race. This race will be run to a slower pace than normal IMO. This is what Happy Trails really needs.
I honestly cannot see how the horse is $60 on @Betfair_Aus to win and I will certainly be buttering up on a place bet closer to the day.
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. Bet at your own risk.
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