The grey flash has owned the Randwick 1200m in recent season’s including an unprecedented three successive TJ Smith Stakes victories. In total Chautauqua is a six-time winner at the elite level and a victory will catapult him to 2nd only to Makybe Diva in earnings. His 2 runs this prep have been a shade below what we have come to expect from the champion sprinter, his latest run in the Premiere Stakes he was just too far back to make up the required deficit. Resuming in The Shorts at 1100m, the same scenario occurred with Redzel on the pace in a track record run making it too hard for the backmarkers, even with Chautauqua running the fastest closing 600m in 32.09 sec, he was too far back. He won his 1st TJ when 3rd up in his prep following runs at 1100m and 1200m the same path as this campaign. The major concern is how far back he gets.
The Golden Slipper winning filly displayed her class when returning for the start of her 3YO term in the 1000m AJ Moir Stakes at The Valley when dominating the big field with a brilliant turn of acceleration. Already near the top of the market, that win solidified her quote and saw her installed the outright favourite. Only having to carry 50kg in the Moir, she will carry 51kg for her attempted ascent of The Everest with Corey Brown securing the ride after Kerrin McEvoy who rode her in the Moir had already committed to Redzel. Trainer Gary Portelli has reported she has trained on well and reports from Brown were glowing from the one piece of work he rode her in. With versatility in her arsenal she can position ideally from gate 2 and from two attempts at the six furlong trip has a 2nd in the Reisling and an emphatic win in the Golden Slipper.
One of three Hayes/Dabernig runners in the field, Vega Magic has won his past four starts in succession, two at G1 level. After securing the G3 Scahill Stakes at Ascot, the gelding was transferred to the East and entered the Lindsay Park operation where he was set for a first-up tilt at The Goodwood where he justified his rising reputation with a solid win. Kept fresh he was next sighted in the Listed Regal Roller where he carried 60.5kg in defeating the highly fancied Brave Smash who had a 6.5kg weight advantage. His next target was the G1 Memsie Stakes where he raced on the speed and entering the straight kicked clear to record a highly impressive victory. He is a nine-time winner at 1200m and with the ability to run a strong 1400m he also has versatility to call on. This will be his first run the Sydney way of going.
The Snowden trained runner has always shown that he will develop into a serious sprinter and that assessment is beginning to look justified. Last season he took out the G3 The Heath at Caulfield at 1100m and at his next start didn’t fire at The Valley in the Moir Stakes behind Extreme Choice. Since that Moir run his figures are 7: 5-2-0 with the 2nd placed runs coming in the G2 Challenge Stakes on a heavy 10 when beaten a head by English and in the G1 The Galaxy when beaten a neck behind Russian Revolution. Successful in the Doomben 10,000 to record his maiden G1 victory he was then given a break before returning in the G3 Concorde at Randwick where he blew them away from the front in posting a two length victory. The 5YO son of Snitzel then went to The Shorts where he broke the track record in the 1100m victory.
The Gerald Ryan trained galloper comes into The Everest under the Chris Waller Racing slot and arrives in white-hot form. The 5YO son of Fastnet Rock has developed a superb record, having secured 8 wins and 6 placings from his 16 career starts. Well placed at patiently progressed, it was his Winter Campaign where he was stepped up. A half-length 2nd in the Ortensia at Scone was followed with victory at G2 level in the Moreton Cup at Doomben. A shade disappointing in the G3 Healy Stakes he was then given a break. Resuming in the Show County Quality with 55.5kg, he set a new record for the Randwick 1200m when exploding to the line. Second-up into the Theo Marks at Rosehill he led them up and gave nothing a chance when running another course record for the 1300m in recording a four length victory. Josh Parr who is a superb front-running hoop maintains the ride.
The mare has received no favours at the barrier draw after landing the outside gate. However with so much speed in the race, whether this helps or hinders will be decided come Saturday. Her last win came back in the Autumn when defeating Redzel in the G2 Challenge Stakes. A disappointing run in The Galaxy followed before she looked to have sewn up victory in the TJ Smith only for Chautauqua to arrive from the clouds and relegate her to 2nd. Soundly beaten in two starts in the All Aged Stakes and then The Goodwood led her into a winter break. Resuming in The Shorts the Encosta De Lago mare was hitting the line strongly in the track record win of Redzel and rounded out her lead-in with a neck 2nd to In Her Time in the Premiere Stakes. Only 1 win at 1200m which came as a 2YO is a big concern.
Hugh Bowman picked up the ride on the Kris Lees trained gelding who received one of the last remaining slots in the race. Securing his second consecutive Luskin Star at Listed level run at Scone in May, he continued north to tackle the G1 Kingsford Smith over 1300m at Eagle Farm on a heavy 8. Allotted the top-weight of 57kg for the Stradbroke, he was attacking the line in the latter stages to finish 3rd, 1.3 lengths from the winner. Given a brief spell he was trialled at Gosford over 800m and was never in the call when well back in the pack. Sent first-up to the G2 Premiere Stakes his closing sections were strong when getting over the ground late to finish 3rd to In Her Time. His only win at Randwick is over 1400m when taking out the Country Championship in 2016, while Bowman’s record on the 6YO is 4: 2-0-2.
Having never won a race at shorter than one mile when arriving in Australia, the Hayes/Dabernig team have been able to transform him into a sprinting proposition. Winning the G3 Sandown Stakes at the end of two-start Spring campaign in 2016, he was set for a first-up tilt at the G1 Newmarket at Flemington over 1200m. Allotted 52.5kg, Regan Bayliss was up and had him positioned on the pace and when given his head the British import forged clear to record a two-length victory. Stepped straight to the mile for the Doncaster and he was never a factor when beaten 9 lengths. Returning a sharper effort in the All Aged Stakes behind Tivaci he was then sent for a spell. The big chestnut was first-up in the G2 Bobbie Lewis Stakes carrying 57kg when scoring a 2.5 length victory. Both his 1200m wins have been down the Flemington straight-six, posing a concern for The Everest.
Houtzen will be partnered by her regular hoop Jeff Lloyd who has forgone a week of rides as he concentrates on getting his weight down to the required 51kg. A winner at her first four career starts including victory in the Magic Millions Classic, her last start for her 2YO term was in the Golden Slipper where she never looked comfortable in the lead after spearing across from barrier 13 and she fought on gamely to finish 5th. Resuming in the G2 McEwen Stakes at 1000m she started favourite and despite appearing to be gone along way out, the filly rallied bravely to come again on the line and grab 3rd behind Russian Revolution. Returning to The Valley when second-up, she was sent straight to the front and kept a solid tempo in recording a one length victory. A big drifter from when the all-in markets first opened, she will jump from barrier 1.
Trainer Matthew Dale has changed the preparation of Fell Swoop in looking to get the extra edge out of his gelding, sending him to Moruya Beach in the lead up to The Everest to sharpen him and will also race in winkers for the first time. For a period he was a horse that many pundits were predicting would win an elusive G1 race and would deserve an elite level victory. The longest winless streak of any horse in the race, his last success was at G2 level in the Victory Stakes at Doomben back in April of 2016. Since that win his numbers show 11: 0-1-3, with 3 of the placings coming at G1 level in the Manikato at The Valley, the Darley Classic at Flemington and the TJ Smith at Randwick, all over the 1200m trip. His two runs this prep have been well below what is expected for the 6YO. Will the beach work turn him around?
The Japanese import has only started three times in Australia, all of those coming this campaign, at 1200m and all at Listed level. Debuting in the Regal Roller he was ridden back in the pack and was hitting the line strongly when running Vega Magic to a half-length. Second-up in the Chandler Macleod at Moonee Valley, he was ridden closer to the speed and held on for victory as an odds-on elect, however he was far from impressive in the win. Taken to Caulfield for the Testa Rossa, he was again sent out in red figures and again was ridden in the second-half of the field but was unable to land the prize in finishing a neck from the winner. Damian Lane has ridden the 5YO entire at each of his three Australian starts, however he has been replaced for The Everest by English rider Jamie Spencer. Trainer Darren Weir has added blinkers to Brave Smash to look for a sharper effort.
Filling the Coolmore slot, Tulip is the third of the Hayes/Dabernig runners and on paper looks to face the sternest test of any of the climbing party taking on The Everest. A winner of just two races, one of those was in the G3 Magic Night Stakes at Rosehill that secured her ticket into the Golden Slipper. Starting from barrier 9 in the world’s richest 2YO race she hit the line best of any of those back in the pack that were running on, yet was still over five lengths from She Will Reign to fill 3rd. Her two starts this campaign have returned a 2nd and a 4th, the latest when finishing just on three lengths from Alizee in the G2 Tea Rose Stakes at 1400m. Tim Clark has secured the ride and partners the Pierro filly for the first time.
February 1 2017, the date that the racing landscape changed not only in NSW, but across the world when Racing NSW announced a new race to their Spring calendar.
The Everest was announced as the newest race in Australia and with it would come a record level of prizemoney. The 2017 edition will offer a total of $10 million in prizemoney, making it the richest thoroughbred race held on turf.
Not only will it be the richest race held on turf, it will become the richest race in Australia, surpassing the Melbourne Cup, it will also become the richest race in the world over 1200m (six furlongs) with the winner set to pocket $5.8m.
Entry to the race is restricted to the 12 ‘invited’ runners, with spots being allocated to the likes of the Lindsay Park Stable and the ATC. These invitations come at a cost of $600,000 with connections purchasing the slot for a three year period. Connections are then able to sell this slot should they not have the runner to contest the race.
Conditions of the race will be standard weight for age and as the race is an invitational, it will carry restricted status and not any Group classification. The Everest will be held at Randwick Racecourse with the inaugural running to take place on Saturday 14 October 2017 as part of the Sydney Spring Carnival