Life's a laugh for Lee with Happy performer
Almond Lee had a night to remember with a 239-1 double with Happy Score and Happy Yeah Yeah, and had the luxury of watching outsider Happy Ha Ha's eye-catching performance in the Craigengower Cricket Club Challenge Cup (1,000m) at Happy Valley.
Happy Ha Ha failed to make any impression in his debut behind Talley Close over 1,200m at Sha Tin on December 11 at 99-1 odds and he was once again unwanted in the betting at 58-1.
But the three-year-old had been showing nice progress in the mornings since his debut run, including a gentle trial on the dirt.
He wasn't flash into stride from gate three, but was travelling nicely before being steadying off a tiring Loyal Army at the 150m while angling for a clear run before rattling home powerfully to come up 2 1/4 lengths behind winner Hawthorne - clocking easily the fastest final 400m in a rapid 22.24 seconds.
Happy Ha Ha formerly raced as Savabill in New Zealand for trainer John Sargent and was a seasoned campaigner with eight runs as a two-year-old, opening in bright form with straight 1,000m wins at Te Rapa on soft going and at Otaki on a good surface, before stepping into top company to finish third in the Group Three Eclipse Stakes at Ellerslie and a Listed win in the Waikato Stud Slipper Stakes over 1,200m. He rounded out his overseas stint with two Group One outings - a seventh at Ellerslie in and a fourth at Awapuni over 1,400m behind eventual champion two-year-old Anabandana.
He is out of the Desert Sun mare Illuminate, mated to the unproven Zabeel stallion Savabeel. His dam Illuminate was a double New Zealand winner at 1,400m and 2,000m and has produced five other winners from as many starters, including Gigino (by Ekraar), Brillianti (by Slavic), and the honest local performer Interchina Star. Also appearing in the same family is champion miler and Hong Kong Mile winner Able One, who is a descendant of Happy Ha Ha's third dam, the American Black-Type winner Little Happiness.
His sire Savabeel was a triple winner from 1,000m to 2,040m, including back-to-back 2004 wins in the Spring Champion Stakes and Cox Plate.
Being a grandson of Zabeel, Happy Ha Ha will get better when stretching out over further distances.