WHAT a race!
The long and controversial build up to The Everest is over, with 11 of Australia’s best sprinters and a sole international set to tackle the Randwick 1200m this Saturday. This is a serious field!
A deluge of rain has hit Sydney in the past two weeks, making it hard to see anything but a Heavy track in play. The rail is in the true position, but that’s not likely to make much of a difference come race time.
Here are our thoughts on all 12 runners and betting selections for the race.
As some professional punters have mused, there’s a million different ways to do this speed map. What we can assume is Redzel will kick up from the inside gate to lead, U S Navy Flag will be up there and it is hard to see Vega Magic being snagged back ever again in a race after last year.
From there, there’s a host of runners looking for ‘a spot’, with Viddora and Santa Ana Lane looking likely to bring up the rear.
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy
Trainer: Peter & Paul Snowden
The defending champion has drawn the inside barrier and looks the likely leader in this. Will the pressure be on in a rich race or will he be left alone? That appears key to his chances. He ticks the wet track box but was below his best in the Premiere Stakes after a setback. Never write off a champion but he will need to improve on that to win here.
SANTA ANA LANE
Jockey: Ben. Melham
Trainer: Anthony Freedman
The triple Group 1 winner from the Anthony Freedman stable capped off his preparation for The Everest with a track-record run to win the Premiere Stakes. He’s won at the top level on the Heavy before but will be relying on a fast tempo to suit his run on style. With a bog track expected, he may have too much ground to make up on the turn.
Jockey: Glyn Schofield
Trainer: Kris Lees
He may be a late entry to the race and the least fancied runner in the field, but like all his rivals a case can be made for Le Romain in The Everest. He drops back from a mile (second to Winx!), meaning he brings fitness as well as a solid wet record. He’ll need plenty to go his way though and may lack the sharp sprint required.
Jockey: Tye Angland
Trainer: Gerald Ryan
Brilliant triple Group 1 winner Trapeze Artist comes into The Everest with question marks over his form in the Spring so far. First up on the Heavy he never threatened in the Theo Marks, before failing to match it with Santa Ana Lane and Shoals in the Premiere. That said, he has been set for this a long way out and can peak third up.
— MG (@WorldRacing007) September 29, 2018
Jockey: Damien Oliver
Trainer: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig
Vega Magic was a tragedy beaten when well and truly Willowed in the 2017 Everest and he’s followed a similar path to this year’s race in the hope of going one better. First up he blew away the Bletchingly field to win by three lengths (Voodoo Lad no less in second!) before Being swamped late in a blanket Memsie finish. That 1400m run will have topped him off but how will he go on the heavy track? We’ll find out.
Jockey: Hugh Bowman
Trainer: Darren Weir
The Weir/Australian Bloodstock team have sent Brave Smash down a different path to this year’s Everest and he is arguably racing better than when he finished third in 2017. Three runs at 1000-1100m, most recently a fast-finishing second in the Group 1 Moir, has him primed for Grand Final day. The wet remains a slight query but his sharp turn of foot makes him a major threat in this.
— MG (@WorldRacing007) September 28, 2018
Jockey: Tommy Berry
Trainer: James Cummings
A late call up following the scratching of stablemate Home Of The Brave (he was set to run in the Everest consolation race, also this Saturday, where he looked a moral … sigh), Osborne Bulls looks a bit of a wildcard here. He has a Group 1 turn of foot but his only run in the top grade came over 1400m in the Sir Rupert Clarke. He’ll acquit himself well, but it is hard to back him with confidence on this occasion.
U S NAVY FLAG
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
We’ve been promised an international race and finally we have an international runner. Aidan O’Brien sends U S Navy Flag to Australia to take on our best, with his most recent run a dominant display in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket. He’ll likely go forward and race on the pace and late betting will tell us plenty about his condition on the day.
“He’s had a tough time of it recently, so what he did today proves what a special horse he is”
Last year’s champion 2yo US Navy Flag roared back to form in the @DarleyStallions July Cup ?
— Newmarket Racecourse (@NewmarketRace) July 14, 2018
IN HER TIME
Jockey: Corey Brown
Trainer: Kris Lees
Perhaps the forgotten runner in the race. Twelve months ago this speedy mare won the Everest consolation in faster time than the main race and she’s returned this prep with a good third in the Premiere. Where she ends up in the run and her capacity to handle the going (she’s won on a Soft 6 but no worse) are the key questions coming into this.
Jockey: Tim Clark
Trainer: Anthony Freedman
A triple Group 1 winner against her own sex, Shoals tackles her toughest assignment to date but looks well and truly up to the task. She closed well first up in the McEwen and then finished a lip off stablemate in Santa Ana Lane in the Premiere, also finishing in track record time. She’s fast, versatile and won on Heavy before, but we want to watch betting closely with this one.
Jockey: Joe Bowditch
Trainer: Lloyd Kennewell
Viddora earned her Everest slot courtesy of a brilliant G1 Moir victory, her second in the top grade. Things worked out perfectly at the Valley for her when she raced away to beat Brave Smash by 1.25 lengths. She won’t receive the same favours from the visitor’s draw here and is untried on anything worse than a Soft 6. It is hard to make a compelling case under these circumstances in a field of 12 guns.
ICYMI | The Autumn Sun wins the Golden Rose!
— 7HorseRacing ? (@7horseracing) September 23, 2018
Jockey: Brenton Avdulla
Trainer: Kris Lees
The sole three-year-old in the field adds an extra element of the unknown. He backed up a brilliant San Domenico victory with two luckless runs over 1400m in the Run To The Rose and Golden Rose, solidifying his fitness for this drop back to 1200m. He has a sharp sprint and with the right run could spring a serious surprise.
What a race! As you’d expect there’s a way to make a case for all twelve runners, albeit some stronger than others.
With all said and done we have landed on VEGA MAGIC, who we believe brings the best natural speed, turn of foot and 1200m credentials to win the race.
The biggest danger appears to be BRAVE SMASH who is peaking here. Similarly, REDZEL and TRAPEZE ARTIST won’t be far away.
Good luck – what a race we have here!