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Happy Clapper Delivers Doncaster Dream

By Brad Gray
At Royal Randwick

The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) is the race Pat Webster has always wanted to win and Happy Clapper delivered that dream.

“You can have your Golden Slippers and you can have your Cox Plates but when we were kids The Doncaster was always the race we wanted to win,” said an emotional Webster.

“Great horse. It was a nice calm ride from Blake (Shinn), he told me he would win and he did.

“It’s just a dream.”

Shinn rode the perfect race on Happy Clapper tucking in behind the speed before darting up the inside to run out a resounding two length winner.

“You don’t like to use the word champion but if you took the mare (Winx) away, look at what he has done. We nurse him after he runs against her and we give him time to get over it. He is an amazing horse,” Webster gushed.

“I said to my wife coming to the races today that they have to run a track record to beat him.”

It wasn’t quite a track record, stopping the clock at 1:33.17s and taking his Randwick mile record to 7-3-3-0, but it was a race record eclipsing the previous benchmark of 1:33.70 set by Belmura Lad way back in 1979.

Happy Clapper became just the eight horse to win Randwick’s two feature miles – the Epsom and Doncaster – in the past 150 years, perhaps somewhat ironically, again following in the footsteps of Winx who achieved that two years ago.

“That is amazing,” said Shinn after parading Happy Clapper in front of the crowd pumping his fist and standing high in the irons.

“I have just won a Doncaster, I have watched this race for so many years growing up and to finally win it and on the people’s champ ‘The Clapper’. To win a Doncaster and put my name in the history books with this horse who deserves it is very special.

“He is so brave this horse, he is honest he is tenacious and tough, well done to Pat Webster and the team this is what it is all about.”

If it was a dream for Webster, Shinn and Happy Clapper, it was a nightmare for Kementari and the Godolphin team with the three-year-old never afforded the room to show his customary acceleration.

“I stuffed that one up,” was Brenton Avdulla’s honest appraisal after the race.

Expect to see Happy Clapper line up against Winx again in next Saturday’s $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) with Webster quipping “it’s still ($755,000) for running second…”

Check out the replays and results for Day 1 of The Championships at Royal Randwick

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