Chautauqua (Photo courtesy of the Hong Kong Jockey Club)
Based on the slot-holder concept of the Pegasus World Cup, Racing New South Wales has introduced The Everest
by Alastair Bull
October 14 is It’s a huge day for racing in Australia. Not only are there four group one races and an important Melbourne Cup trial at Caulfield, there’s the small matter of the richest turf race in the world in Sydney.
Based on the slot-holder concept of the Pegasus World Cup, Racing New South Wales has introduced The Everest, a $A10 million ($US7.8 million) weight-for-age sprint over 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) which runs for the first time this Saturday, Oct. 14 (Friday night U.S. time).
It was hoped there would be some overseas horses, but instead there’s 12 top-class Australian sprinters – and given that Australia focuses on six-furlong turf speed more than any other country, that’s a world-class line-up.
Favoritism for the race is being contested by veteran Chautauqua, the 3-year-old filly She Will Reign, and former West Australian sprinter Vega Magic, one of three runners from the stable of David Hayes, Ben Hayes, and Tom Dabernig.
Given the prizemoney, it’s only fitting that Chautauqua, the equal top-rated sprinter on the World Thoroughbred Rankings for 2015 and 2016, is present. The grey can give his supporters heart palpitations with his come-from-behind tactics. But he loves the Randwick track, having won the T J Smith Stakes (G1) over the same distance the past three years.
He hasn’t finished in the money in two runs this spring, however, which is why there’s some competition to head the market.
She Will Reign, a $20,000 bargain yearling who won the $A3.5 million Golden Slipper in March, was favorite after winning the Moir Stakes (G1) last month. But more punters are flocking to Vega Magic, who is unbeaten since joining the Hayes stable. He was very impressive when winning the seven-furlong Memsie Stakes (G1) in September.
There will also be plenty of attention on another Hayes runner, the British-bred Redkirk Warrior. He had his first race over 1 ¼ miles in Britain and was favorite for the Hong Kong Derby over the same trip last year. But since arriving in Australia he’s won the rich Newmarket Handicap (G1) and he looked good winning the Bobbie Lewis (G3) first-up. He will need firm footing to show his best.
Punters should definitely not forget Redzel, by champion sire Snitzel. He’s won his two spring races comfortably, and he’ll be near the lead for a long way. Deploy and Clearly Innocent also have claims, as does English and the Japanese-bred Brave Smash.
If there isn’t much pace in front, Redzel may be the toughest to beat. But if there is speed, as is likely, then Vega Magic and Chautauqua may be the ones to watch.
SELECTIONS: 1. Vega Magic, 2. Redzel, 3. Chautauqua
* TwinSpires is offering to refund win bets at the Everest meeting at Randwick. If you opt in to the promotion and bet on five races on the Randwick card, then you can get up to $5 refunded for your first win bet in each race.