The Everest is the world’s richest turf race and now into its sixth year. How did the race come about? First run in 2017 at Randwick in October, it is a special conditions race over 1200m. The prize money of AUD$15 million means that it captures the attention of everybody, and the idea was formed out of the USA Pegasus World Cup idea where twelve slots are sold for a race and individuals, or organisations can purchase a slot for an unspecified horse. The slot holder then has the right to race, lease, contract or share a horse or to sell their place in the race. An example of this was in that first year, when slot holder James Harron struck a deal with the owners of Redzel to use his spot to enter their horse, who went on to win the race. With the quality of horse being attracted by the race, there are calls for the race to achieve Group status, although so far that has fallen on deaf ears.
How do you win an Everest? Are there any emerging trends even though the race has only been run five times? With twelve of the fastest horses in Australia going to post, the planning pre-race needs to be meticulous, and we can examine past stats even though it is a small sample size. All winners had two prep races before the big day after their winter break, as there are plenty of opportunities during September with ideal Group races like The Concorde and The Shorts to target. The five winning barriers were 10, 9, 6, 1 and 4 with no real advantage but being drawn widest is not ideal. Nature Strip from ten last year got across early to lead and Yes Yes Yes won from barrier nine where the race opened up perfectly in front of him. Being on the pace early is probably the preferred way to race to avoid an interrupted passage.
We now know the twelve runners who will contest The Everest, but who wins?
The obvious place to start is with last year’s winner Nature Strip, the strong favourite for the event and probably the most likely winner. He has since conquered the Northern Hemisphere by winning the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and was a facile winner of The Shorts at Randwick on his return to Australian racing. The eight-year-old gelding has had 39 starts with 22 wins and is a prolific winner at Group 1 level with nine victories. He wins in any ground from 1000m to 1200m and looks pretty bombproof, the only thing not to like is the price! One thing to consider is the fact that he is taking on younger improving unexposed types who may just improve a bit more on race day and he may be vulnerable to that. Assuming he doesn’t gain a repeat victory, who are his most likely conquerors?
The bookmakers would have you believe that Lost And Running a six-year-old gelding is the main danger. He is experienced with 16 runs and 9 victories with his best run coming in the Group 2 Premiere over 1200m on heavy ground. John O’ Shea has brought him along steadily and he was a comfortable winner of his last race with three of today’s opponents in behind. He has experience of the race when running well last year and many good judges think he could be the one this year.
You could have been forgiven if you and thought that you heard Tom Magnier shouting Yes Yes Yes as Jacquinot crossed the line in the Golden Rose Stakes, a race where their previous Everest winner Yes Yes Yes had finished second in. It must have brought back great memories so can they follow a similar path with this three-year-old colt? Jacquinot is interesting and has had just six starts winning his last two including that Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes over 1400m on good ground. He must have plenty of improvement left in him, the big question mark has to be his inexperience at this level, could he find things happening a bit too quickly? I am sure he will run a race and whatever he does this year he will be a much better horse in next year’s renewal.
The four-year-old gelding Mazu has had 13 races and won 7 times but was a little flat in his first run after the break. He had appeared to be a serious challenger to Nature Strip after the winter break, and he may well still be, but he will need to come on for his two runs and there is no obvious reason why he should turn the tables from The Shorts. Last time he ran much better in the Group 2 Premiere and 1200m is his trip. Any rain would aid him hugely and he did win the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 on heavy ground. He is not without a chance if the Snowdens have left a little to work on but will need a little luck in running.
Masked Crusader is a six-year-old gelding with 22 career runs and 7 victories. That includes four Group race wins with the highlight being the Group 1 William Reed Stakes at Moonee Valley over 1200m on good ground. He won the Group 2 Premiere here on good ground last year and has had two prep runs since a break with this obviously his target.
Eduardo is a favourite with the punters as the nine-year-old gelding wears his heart on his sleeve. He has run 29 times with 12 wins and won the Concorde Stakes after a break before a fourth place in The Shorts. He is better on a soft surface which he will get here and has won from 1000m to 1300m but has never beaten Nature Strip at 1200m. He will run well but connections need to try something different if he is to get his head in front.
Private Eye is a five-year-old gelding with 21 starts and 9 wins. He won the Group 1 TAB Epsom over 1600m at Randwick and also won over 1200m in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes at Flemington. He goes on most ground but is better on a sounder surface. He would be a surprise winner, but he has plenty of experience in Group 1 races and if they go too quick up front, he will be one of the closers with his stamina coming into play. If the ground dries out a little. he could be a value outsider.
Overpass is a four-year-old horse who looked to be coming to hand in The Shorts. but was more than disappointing in The Premiere. His best win was in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes and 1200m is his trip. He is versatile and has won on good and on soft. After his Shorts run, he looked like the one to follow this year, but he has always been capable of throwing in a shocker. Perhaps he will bounce back here but he really needs to and looks a risky proposition.
Giga Kick is a three-year-old gelding who is very inexperienced with just four racecourse appearances, but he has won all four. The last two were Group 3 and Group 2 races but he has not raced at further than 1100m although there is no reason to think that 1200m will be a problem. This is a massive ask for such an inexperienced horse, but he has huge potential, although a win here will send shockwaves across the Australian racing industry.
Ingratiating is the Godolphin pick. A four-year-old horse with 18 starts and 4 wins, he has only won over 1100m and at Group 3 level, but he was placed at Group 1 level over 1200m in The Manikato Stakes and The Golden Slipper last season. He did run very well behind stablemate Paulele in last weekend’s Schillaci Stakes, but Godolphin have had a job picking a selection this year and this feels like a bit of “what do we have left to run pick” with other horses failing to make the grade.
Shades Of Rose the four-year-old mare, is a prolific winner, 7 from just 9 races with her best a Group 2 win in The Sheraco Stakes over 1200m on good ground. Her wins have mostly come with cut in the ground, and as a daughter of Rubick, she is bred to do the job. A top three finish here will make her a valuable broodmare.
Joyful Fortune is a six-year-old gelding who is lightly raced, having had only eight starts, with three wins. He is yet to win at 1200m and most of his form is on top of the ground although he did win his last race at Flemington on a heavy track showing a tremendous turn of foot. The bare form of that race leaves him plenty to find, and he has yet to race at anywhere near this level so he would be a shock winner and is the real roughie in the race.
On the face of it, we would be looking at a bit of a shock if Nature Strip is beaten here with everything in his favour except one trend, he has only had the one prep run and that might just leave him vulnerable if the others have improved for two runs. The barrier draw made a difference, but I still think Mazu has more to give and at a decent win and place price he might provide a touch of value in the race.
Sydney’s Royal Randwick hosts the world’s richest race, The Everest (1200m) on turf on Saturday, 15 October 2022. The Everest's inaugural run in 2017 was won by the 2017/18 Australian sprinter of the year Redzel. The second year in 2018 also saw Redzel defend his title. The 2021 Everest was won by the Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip with Masked Crusader and Eduardo filling the minor placings.The race is open to any +3YO horse. International sprinters can also target the Everest
The race has a capacity of 12 horses. Runners for the Everest are allocated using a unique concept developed by Racing NSW, whereby 12 'slots' are available for sale, which then allows the slot holder to negotiate with owners, pick their own horse and agree on a prize money split to then have that horse
|LAST RACE VIDEO|