by Andrew Brown

TwinSpires players are set to be treated to another huge night of racing from Down Under on Friday night.

When and where to watch: 1:15am ET, USA on TwinSpires

The $15 million (USD $10.7m) The Everest – Australia’s richest race and the world’s richest race on turf – is the highlight of an extremely strong card from Royal Randwick, the track otherwise known as “racing headquarters” in Australia’s biggest city, Sydney. Randwick has been a part of Aussie culture for more than 150 years, and is the country’s longest-standing racing venue.

Friday night’s The Everest is the fourth edition of this race, following Redzel’s back-to-back victories in 2017 and 2018, and Yes Yes Yes’s win last year.

The race is similar in fashion to the Pegasus World Cup. Twelve slots are sold for $600,000 apiece, and it is then up to those slot owners to either race a horse themselves, or lease/sell the slot to someone willing to shell out the cash to enter the race! With $6.2million (USD $4.4m) on offer for the winner, and even fourth place rewarding connections $1million (USD $716,500), it’s certainly worth a “throw at the stumps.”

Last year’s winning trainer, Chris Waller, saddles two runners – Haut Brion Her and 2019 Australian Horse of the Year Nature Strip. Last year’s winning jockey, Glen Boss, has taken the ride on the James Cummings-trained Bivouac. Rachel King will create history when she becomes the first female jockey to ride in the race when she climbs aboard the Joseph Pride-trained Eduardo.

So, who wins the Everest?

Not surprisingly, it’s a competitive field made up of no less than 7 Group 1 winners which have combined for 17 Group 1 wins.

#3 Classique Legend is my pick for the 2020 The Everest. His trainer, Les Bridge, recently said the son of Not A Single Doubt was the best horse he has ever trained. Considering Mr. Bridge has been training horses for more than 50 years, and has won many of Australia’s biggest races including the Golden Slipper (G1) and Melbourne Cup (G1), that’s a massive call!

Classique Legend contested last year’s The Everest and was unlucky, finding plenty of traffic down the stretch and never getting a chance to sprint. The horse was supposed to ship to Hong Kong earlier in the year, but fortunately for Mr. Bridge, his Hong Kong owners decided to keep the horse in Australia when COVID-19 hit. From that moment, Classique Legend has been on a path towards The Everest.

After an impressive win at Randwick in June when nowhere near peak fitness, the horse had a short break before returning with another solid victory at Randwick in The Shorts (G2) last month. Last start, he was beaten by another The Everest contender, Libertini, but not everything went his way in transit.

In what will likely be a race with plenty of speed, jockey Kerrin McEvoy – who won the race on Redzel in 2017 and 2018 – should be able to find a nice spot for Classique Legend from post position 6, and push the button on him at the right time down the stretch. You can expect odds of around 4-1 about Classique Legend on the night.

For the exotics, I’ll be including a few at big odds.

Both Trekking and Santa Ana Lane contested the race last year and unleashed some of the quickest closing sectionals of the race. They’ve shown enough in recent runs to be in the mix again this year. They will both be 20-1 or more and should add some value to your exactas and trifectas if they can hit the board.

It’s going to be a great night on the sofa watching all the racing action from Down Under. Grab yourself a hot meat pie and tomato sauce, and perhaps a can of Fosters or two, and I hope you back plenty of winners!