Rewind the best part of 12 months and Runhappy was proving himself to be the champion sprinter in North America when justifying favouritism to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
From there, his winning streak extended to six starts when securing a third Group 1 success in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.
Big things were expected of Runhappy as a four-year-old, but his preparations have been considerably dented by a bruised bone in his front right foot.
His seasonal reappearance finally arrived earlier in October in a Group 3 at Churchill Downs and there may have been a tinge of disappointment that he could only finish fourth.
This means that both of Runhappy’s career defeats have now arrived over 1m, with all of his victories coming over 7f or shorter.
However, the consensus is that Runhappy will still be sent to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile this year over 1m, rather than defend his Sprint crown.
Trainer Laura Wohlers is of the opinion that the long stride that the horse possesses means he is well suited to the slightly longer trip.
The positive is that he is almost certain to improve for his seasonal reappearance, with Runhappy far from fully tuned up for his Churchill Downs excursions. Yet his odds to win the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile have drifted to 8/1 on the back of that result.
This represents clear each-way value, especially considering one of the other big guns prominent in the betting is expected to line up in another race on the card.
Frosted is 5/2, but may well challenge California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic instead.
Meanwhile, the jockey booking of Gary Stevens to replace regular pilot Edgar Prado must also be regarded as a positive.
Stevens was on board for the Malibu Stakes victory, allowing the horse to get to the front, dictate the pace and then quicken clear. Similar tactics represents the best chance of Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile victory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing