Fan favourite Happy Clapper has tuned up for his next Group One assignment with a barrier trial win at Randwick.
The nine-year-old will run in Saturday week's Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) having finished third in two of the past four runnings.
He only beat one runner home in the George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on March 28 and his trainer Pat Webster said in hindsight the race had been too short.
"He's looking for 2000 metres now," Webster said.
Happy Clapper spotted the leaders a big start in Tuesday's 1250m-trial on the Kensington track and reeled them in comfortably Through The Cracks by a neck.
The Angela Davies-trained Through The Cracks will run in the Provincial Championship final on April 11.
Webster said the trial was pleasing although he was watching from his Central Coast property.
The 69-year-old trainer is keeping away from the track because of the coronavirus pandemic as he is close to the vulnerable age for contracting COVID-19.
His son Wayne will saddle Happy Clapper on race day.
"I'm hoping racing goes ahead," he said.
The trainer is keeping busy with his other duties as a drug and alcohol counsellor for Racing NSW and the face of the Racing Mates program.
He has spent the summer dealing with people distressed by drought and bushfires and now spends hours on the phone to those struggling with the latest situation.
Melbourne visitor Miss Siska was also a trial winner on Tuesday.
The Grahame Begg-trained mare is also set to run on Saturday week in the Coolmore Legacy in which she finished fourth last year, beaten less than half a length.
Australian Associated Press