Day of Firsts at Randwick Features Happy Clapper and Foundry

Happy Clapper deserves a round of applause after coming home first in the 2017 edition of the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600 m) Saturday at Royal Randwick.

The race was fairly true to form. Happy Clapper’s starting price of $2.40 made the 7YO bay gelding of Randwick trainer Patrick Webster and jockey Blake Shinn a winner for the first time at the Group 1 level, although he came close in the George Main Stakes a fortnight prior to the Epsom, but for the unfortunate choice to participate in a race run by Winx.

Chris Waller’s horse Tom Melbourne ($8) ran second and Snitzson ($26) took third, edging another Waller horse, Foxplay, ridden by Hugh Bowman, by a neck.

Earlier during the meeting, the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600 m) went to Alizee, prepared by James Cummings and ridden by Glyn Schofield. Champagne Cuddles was second and Cellargirl came across in third.

After the Epsom, Blake Shinn was effusive with his praise for Happy Clapper, saying the the horse jumped brilliantly and traveled well when the speed was hot early in the race. Patrick Webster has to be pleased to have his first Group 1 win to his credit.

Following the Epsom, the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400 m) was the feature for the true stayers. Ireland’s Foundry, ridden by Michael Dee, was the winner. In a day filled with several firsts, it was Dee’s first winning ride at Randwick.

Another Irish horse, Big Duke, with Brenton Avdulla steering, finished second. After that, predictably, it was New Zealand’s Chocante in third.

Group 1 racing returns to Randwick next weekend, with the Spring Champion Stakes (2000 m). Flemington will be in on the act as well, staging the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes.

Of course, the big events of October will be the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate, but the entire month is clogged with high-level races.

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