by Dick Powell
Tonight at 1:15 am (EDT), The Everest Stakes will be run for $10 million (Australian dollars) at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Australia going about six furlongs on the right-handed course.
If you like to do research on races before you bet, all you have to do is search The Everest and you will be amazed at what is available. Before we get to my picks, a few things that make their racing different, and better, than ours.
Even the day before, the turf course is listed as “Good -4” which is about as normal as a course can be based on their 1-to-10 scale. The temporary rail will be set at six meters and according to the Sydney Track Bias Report, there is a 70% chance of showers and the advantage is to horses that race on the pace starting from an inside or middle post.
Twelve runners will go to post for the richest turf race in the world and remember, program numbers are not post positions. Ten of the 12 entrants are already millionaires and even two of the four also-eligible runners are. The Everest has an entry system similar to Gulfstream Park’s Pegasus World Cup (G1) where the owners of the starters put up the purse money that they are running for.
Despite the two-mile Melbourne Cup (G1) being Australia’s iconic race and the 1 ¼ mile Cox Plate (G1) being its most important, the truth is Australian racing is mostly devoted to sprinting. Their horses are bred for speed and asked for speed early in their career. Australian sprinters regularly win in Dubai, Ascot and Hong Kong so there is a deep talent pool to fill the 12 spots.
Sprinters shipping in from Flemington, the premier track in Melbourne, run down a straightaway for races up to six furlongs. What you need to know is that tracks in New South Wales like Randwick and Rosehill, race right-handed and tracks in Victoria like Flemington, Caulfield and Moonee Valley race left-handed.
The free past performances available on Brisnet.com indicate each horse’s record at Randwick as well as their record on “Good” turf courses. The massive purse has attracted everyone from 7YO geldings to a trio of 3YO fillies. Run under weight-for-age conditions, older horses carry 129 pounds, an older mare carries 124 pounds and 3YO fillies get in with 112 pounds.
Australian media outlets provide you with recent fixed-odds wagering on the race so you can see who the money has been coming in on and how the odds are adjusted. In Australia, there is a morning line that is published but it is more of a flexible, opening line that has already been bet into.
If you stay up late on the East Coast or live on the West Coast, you will hear the simulcast broadcast talk about “6 into 5,” which means that the odds dropped from 6-to-1 to 5-to-1. Except, when they quote a price, the stake is included so 5-to-1 pays $10, not the $12 that we are used to. Horses that have odds that are going up are drifters and their odds will be said to be “8 out to 10.”
With all the money available and the short distance of the race, many of the entrants have been trained for the race without a lot of prep races. It’s a completely different handicapping exercise than the Melbourne Cup where entrants are getting into shape with many races in a short period of time.
All that said, I am going to go with the hot horse, SHE WILL REIGN (Manhattan Rain). This 3YO filly won the $3.5 million Golden Slipper (G1) at Rosehill at this distance last year on heavy ground but is 2-for-2 on “Good” turf courses. She returned off her layoff with two barrier trials and then won a Group 1 stakes race at Moonee Valley from an impossible position, getting up by a nose going five furlongs.
She Will Reign was far back early and was at least seven wide turning for home where there is only a furlong remaining to the wire. How she got up is amazing to watch and with that race under her belt and inherent class, she should reign again. Getting in with only 112 pounds only helps and even though she is program number 10, she drew perfectly in post 2. Six furlongs is a better distance for her and the reports of her training leading up to The Everest are breath-taking.
Like any sprint race, it can be won or lost at the start but She Will Reign showed in her last start that she can overcome just about anything. If you can get 4-to-1 on her, jump in with both hands. Win or lose, it will be a fascinating race to watch.
* TwinSpires is offering a great opportunity with betting 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.