Mother’s record on the line

Jocelyn Burley is on a mission with Happyto Keepa in the Listed $50,000 Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic at Tauranga on Saturday.

Happyto Keepa has won three of her last four starts for her Cambridge owner-trainer-breeder and has a career record of five wins and six placings from 16 starts, hauling in almost $60,000 in prizemoney.

Burley bred the Keeper mare from her talented racemare My Happiness, who performances included a third to Sound The Alarm and Vinaka in the 2001 Listed Newmarket Handicap at Ellerslie.

“I’m aiming for my sixth win with Happyto Keepa and that would head off her mother, My Happiness, who won five,” said Burley. “My Happiness was a good mare and I should really have run her in the Railway Handicap. I didn’t think she was up to it at the time, but looking back on what she did she would have been competitive.”

My Happiness, a daughter of Kaapstad, earned over $80,000 in prizemoney and was twice stakes-placed. The other black type placing was a third in the 2002 Listed Tauranga Classic, the same event Happyto Keepa is tackling on Saturday.

Burley bred Happyto Keepa in partnership with Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan and she has two half-relatives to the promising mare which she has bred on her own account.

“I’ve got a two-year-old half-sister by Great Britain and a yearling half-brother by Patapan,” said Burley. “My Happiness is now in foal to Lucky Unicorn, but that one has been bred by Patrick and it’ll be his foal.”

A win or placing by Happyto Keepa in the Tauranga Classic will add value to Burley’s “family” of thoroughbreds and if she is successful she will therefore head off her dam, My Happiness, on two counts — the most wins and a stakes triumph.

Happyto Keepa has shown ability right from the outset, winning on debut at Rotorua in August 2010. Her second win came at Te Rapa in July last year and after five placings she has come back better than ever this campaign.

She won over 1400 metres at Matamata last April and completed a double when scoring over the same trip at Rotorua. She then wound up sixth at Ellerslie before her last-start Te Rapa win, again over 1400.

All of Happyto Keepa’s wins have been on left-handed tracks and Burley had been tempted to keep her to left-handed courses after her last win, but then had a change of heart.

“The idea that she’s only good left-handed is probably just in my head,” said Burley. “After all she has been placed a few times right-handed. It’s worth giving her another go right-handed.”

Burley plans to change a few things from the trip to Ellerslie when Happyto Keepa had her last right-handed race.

“She usually travels with a little pony as a companion, but she didn’t have a mate when she went to Ellerslie and she was almost unmanageable,” said Burley. “She’s going with a pony this time and I’m getting the head partition taken out between them so she can see the pony.”

Burley gives credit to regular raceday rider Rogan Norvall and trackwork rider, fellow Cambridge trainer Terry Wenn, for the form shown by Happyto Keepa.

“Terry rides her at the track and she’s not easy to hold,” said Burley. “She works really strong and when Rogan jumps on her on raceday he knows what to expect.”

Happyto Keepa has drawn wide at barrier 14 on Saturday, but Norvall has told Burley not to worry about the draw.

“Rogan says it will probably be better out there by that time of day,” said Burley. “He’s happy and so am I. The mare is very well.”