“He is in a paddock and will be back on December 5. I only have five in work now and he is keeping me going. We might retire together but I would never say that.”
Webster has work away from the track supporting those who have fallen on hard times, which takes up a lot of his time. He knows a bit about that from his days growing up in Inverell as a drover’s son.
The Pat Webster story took him around the state before he lobbed at Randwick some 50 years ago as a apprentice jockey. A race fall would finish his career in the saddle but Randwick became home and the dream was to win a group 1 at headquarters, which Happy Clapper delivered.
“These are my stories and there a couple I had to ring Alan say ‘don’t tell that one’,” Webster said.
“There are a couple [of stories] I couldn’t tell and hopefully a few more to come with the Clapper.
“It was a great experience and I hope it can help someone.”
Webster has made that part of his mission, particularly helping people recover from drug and other addictions. It is something that touched his family and is why he dedicated the book to his son Patrick jnr.
He become a certified drug and alcohol counsellor after his son spend time in jail as a result of a heroin addiction. In his time of need the Salvation Army supported him and it is why all the proceeds from the book, which costs $30, will go to the charity.
“I found Salvos when my family had troubles and they helped us. I just want to help them,” Webster said.
Webster remains the central figure of Racing Mates, Racing NSW’s support and counselling program, and sees Happy Clapper as a blessing to help spread the word.
“Every knows the Clapper and want to talk about him, which makes it easier for me to talk to them about problems,” he said.
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald