Happy Power Romps Home in Leicester Feature
Classy Happy Power fulfilled a long-held ambition of his connections when winning the Listed King Richard III Stakes at Leicester yesterday. There was a touch of poignancy in the victory, for it was a race the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha had identified to trainer Andrew Balding that he wanted to win when first becoming involved in racing under his King Power Racing banner.
Just three runners went to post for the 7f contest; Aratus was very lit up early, pulling hard on exiting the stalls and eventually taking up a position alone on the rails, whilst some distance across the track Path Of Thunder raced down the centre, slipstreamed by Happy Power. Two furlongs out, a cruising Happy Power loomed up alongside Path Of Thunder, who was coming under pressure with the urgings of jockey William Buick. The former took the lead inside the final furlong, ears pricked, and, shaken up, kept on well to win comfortably.
Balding said: “The happiest thing about it is that when the chairman decided to get involved in horse racing, to win this race was one of his objectives, obviously with the Leicester connection.
“I’m thrilled to have done it. We’ve had a couple of tries before. He’s a star and as good as ever. This was one of the parts of the plan. We’ve still got plenty more to try to achieve to complete the picture – this was just one off the bucket list.”
The Kingsclere trainer has already mapped out the route to the big meetings for Happy Power.
“Ascot is important to King Power and we’ll go there for the Diamond Jubilee again,” said Balding, who is also eyeing another crack at the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood. “He’s a seven-furlong specialist and there aren’t that many opportunities.”
Twice a winner at two, Happy Power won the Listed Ganton Stakes at three and was a close fourth behind Too Darn Hot in the Gr.1 Sussex Stakes and third in the Gr.2 Celebration Mile Stakes. At four he won the Gr.2 Challenge Stakes and Gr.3 Supreme Stakes and last year, campaigned exclusively in Group company, he ran a very creditable fourth in the Gr.1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes and was a third in the Gr.2 Lennox Stakes in a tight finish.
The homebred and Tattersalls October Yearling Sale Book 1 graduate is the second foal and first winner out of Tamarisk, a half-sister to the Gr.2 Rockfel Stakes winner Cairns. The second dam is the Gr.1 Cheveley Park Stakes runner-up Tanami, whose half-sister Wannabe produced a Cheveley Park Stakes winner in Wannabe Grand. Tamarisk has a two-year-old full-brother to the winner named Caulaincourt and a yearling full-sister.