Happy Star will be vying to keep his undefeated record intact this preparation when he contests the Group 3 Winning Edge Presentations Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton Park on Saturday. The Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard-trained five-year-old has won both of his starts this time in and they are hoping he can continue his picket fence formline this weekend.
“He’s been going super,” Benner said. “He has done nothing wrong this whole preparation, he has won two trials and two races. “He has travelled down really well. He is a very sensible horse and takes everything in very easily. “He has been pretty much set for this race and I am pretty happy with him.”
While pleased with his charge heading into the weekend, Benner said his biggest concern is Happy Star’s wide barrier (19). “The wide barrier is my biggest concern, I am not worried about a dead track, he is fine on that,” he said. “Lisa (Allpress, jockey) is going to have to produce a pretty good ride. He hasn’t got the right draw, so he is going to have to be good and we are going to need a bit of luck in running.
“We have not set a plan as yet, we will just get through the first part of the day. “He has got quite good gate speed, so we will just have to assess what the track is doing and we will make a plan before the race. “If he gets a bit of luck he will be right in it.”
TAB bookmakers have installed Happy Star as a $4.40 favourite ahead of Tobilicious ($6) and Rosewood ($6.50).
Benner said there are no set plans for Happy Star after Saturday, but there are plenty of options for the promising gelding. “He is only third-up so we will get through Saturday and see where we go,” he said. “There is still a bit of racing left in him. He is a tough little horse, so we will just take it day by day.”