From left: Blake Shinn, Pat Webster and Michael Thomas celebrate Happy Clapper’s win in the Canterbury Stakes (Lisa Grimm)
A Group One winner and a Group Two winner on the same day.
You bred them both, you own one outright and “have a leg” in the other.
‘Happy’ probably doesn’t even begin to cover it!
Michael Thomas has been breeding and racing horses for over 30 years and in last year’s Epsom Handicap, he snapped up his first Group One winner with Happy Clapper.
That one became two on Saturday when the Pat Webster trained Happy Clapper captured the Group One Bisley Workwear Canterbury Stakes over 1300m at Royal Randwick, taking the 7YO’s earnings to a whopping $3,875,800. I’d clap too.
But it gets better: some 90 minutes earlier and a state away, Happy Clapper’s half brother, Not A Single Cent, won the Group Two MSS Security Sires’ Produce Stakes over 1400m at Flemington and, based on the 2YO colt’s impressive performance, Thomas might only be a few weeks away from making it Group One win #3 and/or #4.
Indeed, Thomas won’t even need to find a TV as Not A Single Cent is poised to contest the $1 million Inglis Sires’ Produce, while Happy Clapper will have a tilt at the $3 million Star Doncaster Mile on the same 7 April Royal Randwick program.
“Happy Clapper is a possibility to run in the Group One George Ryder on 24 March, but more than likely he’ll a have a barrier trial and then just go straight into the Doncaster,” Thomas points out. “There’s also the ($4 million) Queen Elizabeth to consider the following week.
“As for Not A Single Cent, he’s entered for the Golden Slipper but the seven furlongs is more his trip, so why bash him around in a race that doesn’t suit?”
Both Happy Clapper (by Teofilo) and Not A Single Cent (by Not a Single Doubt) are out of Thomas’s Encosta de Lago mare, Busking.
Sadly, Busking died in January 2017, but Thomas’s association with the family stretches back to the mid 1980s.
“(Canberra trainer) Keith Dryden told my brother and I that there was this good horse called Vale Nymph which had all the attributes to make a good broodmare,” Thomas recalls. “We were young and bold and thought we’d have a go and she ended up producing five winners including Green Waters, who was multiple stakes placed. Another was Winifred’s Prayer who also left five winners, including the Group winner, Thankgodyou’rehere, who came close to winning my first Group One when second in the Galaxy.
“I sent Winifred’s Prayer to Encosta de Lago when he was standing for just $7,000 and sold the resultant filly – Busking – for $40,000 as a yearling.
“Busking eventually ended up with Darley, but when they did a cull of their mares, I picked her up at the 2010 Inglis Broodmare Sale – in foal to Teofilo – for $13,000. She was carrying Happy Clapper.”
Thomas sent Busking to Not A Single Doubt in 2014 and 2015, producing a pair of colts: the first of them being Not A Single Cent.
“Happy Clapper’s career hadn’t really kicked in when Not A Single Cent became a yearling so I decided to sell the colt at the Magic Millions through Glenn Burrows’ Willow Park Stud,” Thomas points out.
“He ended up being purchased by Ciaron Maher for $280,000 and I decided to keep 25% … it’s my insurance policy – keep a leg and you’ll never be happy, never be sad.
“The funny thing is, Not A Single Cent was a cracking foal who kind of levelled out a bit by the time he went through the sale, while the full brother was only an ordinary type to begin with, but is rapidly developing into a real athlete.
“Bugger the insurance policy … I’m keeping this one to race for myself.”
A former bookmaker, but since retired, Thomas only has the one broodmare now: a half sister to Busking called Offer It Up.
“I’ve usually got four or five horses at any one time and have kept pretty good records over a 15 year period,” Thomas reveals. “I was always lucky to have one flagship horse to carry the others, but before Happy Clapper came along, the balance sheet was just starting to tip over into the red.
“Now he and Not A Single Cent are paying all my other horses’ school fees!”