2018 The Everest – Australian Racing Preview
2018 The Everest
Royal Randwick Racecourse
Saturday 13th October 2018
Race 7: 4.15pm (AEST)
1200 metres, open
Purse: A$13 million
24X15 1. REDZEL (1), J: KERRIN MCEVOY, W: 58.5 KGS, 7.00
31151 2. SANTA ANA LANE (9), J: BEN MELHAM, W: 58.5 KGS, 8.00
32172 3. LE ROMAIN (11), J: GLYN SCHOFIELD, W: 58.5 KGS, 21.00
11X34 4. TRAPEZE ARTIST (6), J: TYE ANGLAND, W: 58.5 KGS, 7.00
7X814 5. VEGA MAGIC (7), J: DAMIEN OLIVER, W: 58.5 KGS, 7.00
0X332 6. BRAVE SMASH (4), J: HUGH BOWMAN, W: 58.5 KGS, 13.00
0X214 7. HOME OF THE BRAVE (17), J: N/A, W: 58.5 KGS, Scratched
5291X 8. U S NAVY FLAG (3), J: RYAN MOORE, W: 58 KGS, 8.50
139X3 9. IN HER TIME (8), J: COREY BROWN, W: 56.5 KGS, 11.00
11X32 10. SHOALS (2), J: TIM CLARK, W: 56.5 KGS, 7.50
X20X1 11. VIDDORA (12), J: JOE BOWDITCH, W: 56.5 KGS, 15.00
1X123 12. GRAFF (10), J: BRENTON AVDULLA, W: 53 KGS, 16.00
21X15 17. OSBORNE BULLS (5), J: TOMMY BERRY, W: 58.5 KGS, 17.00
X666X 13. CLEARLY INNOCENT (13), J: TBA W: 58.5 KGS, 61.00 (e)
3X015 14. DOTHRAKI (14), J: TBA W: 58.5 KGS, 101.00 (e)
43697 15. JUNGLE EDGE (15), J: TBA W: 58.5 KGS, 51.00 (e)
2X129 16. PIERATA (16), J: TBA W: 58.5 KGS, 31.00 (e)
661X3 18. SPRIGHT (18), J: TBA W: 56.5 KGS, 61.00 (e)
Finally, it’s time for the running of the richest sprint race on turf: The Everest. The prize money on offer is silly money really, but there are some gun sprinters looking to hook the big fish for their excited owners. Winning this race would be like winning the lottery!
Though it’s now one of the worlds most lucrative horse races, it carries no Group rating. Sure the money is nice, but there’s no kudos for those horses wanting prestige in the sires and broodmare markets.
The Everest – Concept
The concept of the race is slightly unusual, in that horses are selected by what is known as Slot Holders. There are 12 slots made available by the Australian Turf Club (ATC), and each slot is worth $600,000, and can be purchased by anyone, or by a syndicated group. The slot holder must commit for three years.
The slot holder then negotiate with owners and trainers to have their horse represented. Slot holders can change their representation right up to the week leading into the race, due to a drop-off in form, injuries etc. Punters who have backed early money (futures) on slot holder horses who then drop out – lose their money.
Slot holders for 2018 include:
GPI Racing (Greg Ingham) – Le Romain
The Star Casino – Shoals
Aquis Farm – Trapeze Artist
Australian TAB – In Her Time
Yu Long Investments – Redzel
Australian Turf Club – Osborne Bulls
Inglis – Santa Ana Lane
Max Whitby Syndicate – Graff
Coolmore – US Navy Flag
James Harron Bloodstock – Vega Magic
Damion Flower – Viddora
Chris Waller Racing – Brave Smash
It’s been a crazy two weeks in Sydney regarding the weather. Severe drought conditions in regional New South Wales finally broke, with heavy downpours filling up previously parched catchment areas out in central west parts of the state. The wet weather eventually moved toward the coast with Sydney getting hit with heavy rain last weekend.
As a result, Royal Randwick rated a Heavy 9 deteriorating quickly during the day. For this weekend, overhead conditions may improve slightly but the track looks likely to favour horses that prefer softer going (Soft 5 and worse).
Form and Predictions
Let’s kick it off by saying that the race has five emergencies (refer (e) above). OSBORNE BULLS got added to the main field this week after the scratching of HOME OF THE BRAVE. Two other slot horses NATURE STRIP and ENGLISH also dropped out of contention, the former losing form, the latter retired to the broodmare paddock.
To be honest, there’s many chances here and on their day any horse could win. Defending champion REDZEL returns to defend his crown, but I think he’s not quite the same horse as last year. His ‘lead from the front and hope for the best’ tactic is well known to his rivals as others can swoop from the back in a flash.
Two of those are Victorian SANTA ANA LANE and South Australian mare VIDDORA. Both are in sparkling form as evidenced by the two videos below, and I’m predicting them to do well. I’m not sure about Viddora running right-handed, but Santa Ana Lane has, and with three Group 1’s under his belt, this excitement machine could set Randwick alight if he gets going.
If it’s a wet track, the Darren Weir’s BRAVE SMASH comes into contention. The former Japanese galloper ran a place in last year’s Everest and has since gone on to Group 1 success earlier in 2018’s autumn carnival. SHOALS like Santa Ana Lane is a three time Group 1 winner, who can race handily between 1200m and 1600m. Her last start second to Santa Ana Lane (see video below) was barnstorming!
Two that are flying under the radar include VEGA MAGIC and pre-race favourite TRAPEZE ARTIST. Both are not in the best of form, a wet track will certainly cast doubts over Vega Magic’s chances, while Trapeze Artist on his day is world class. He would stamp his mark if he got up on Saturday.
The interesting runner is British colt US NAVY FLAG with the world’s best jockey Ryan Moore aboard. This colt has class written all over him, and come from Adian O’Brien’s Irish stable. He carries a timeform rating of 117, as well as multiple Group 1 victories as a two-year-old and a win in the prestigious July Cup a few months back. U.S Navy Flag is a very serious contender, though there may be a concern about the wet track, particularly if it gets to a Heavy 8 or 9. Do not dismiss.
The Everest Day at Royal Randwick should make for great theatre. The uncertain weather conditions will inevitably have a say. Umbrellas or sunglasses? Without question, there will be some interesting stories to be written come Saturday evening. In the meantime, get your bets on!
Betting Gods Picks
US Navy Flag, Santa Ana Lane, Shoals
Video Reference Guide
2018 Premiere Stakes (Santa Ana Lane, Shoals, In Her Time, Trapeze Artist, Redzel)
2018 Moir Stakes (Viddora, Brave Smash, Spright, Jungle Edge)
US Navy Flag Profile