This time two year's ago the Everest didn't even exist but it has already become one of the main targets for any top International sprinter. There is a prize fund of $13,000,000 on offer for the twelve starters in the six-furlong Group 1 contest at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The twelve starting berths are each sold for $600,000 so it's unsurprising that the race itself is a very competitive and tricky contest to figure out with nearly every horse in the field has a chance. There is no need to scratch your head regarding the international form as we have done all the hard work for you.
Santa Ana Lane
Anthony Freedman's six-year-old son of Lope De Vega has reached a new level of form in the past twelve months, with three Group 1 victories to his name. This upward curve in form may not have reached its peak and connections will be hoping Santa Ana Lane can add a fourth Group 1 to his cv on the biggest stage of his career.
Gerald Ryan’s stallion beat last season's Everest winner Redzel to land the $2.5 million Group 1 Darley T J Smith Stakes in April at Royal Randwick, and he should appreciate the return to the track. The son of Snitzel finished in behind Santa Ana Lane in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes at Randwick last month but looks sure to improve for that run.
Redzel looked to have the sprinting world at his feet as he sprinted away from his rivals to land a fifth consecutive race in the inaugural Everest last year. He followed this up with another Group 1 win at Flemington. Peter and Paul Snowden gave their stable star a break following a fourth-place finish in a Group 1 at Doomben. This race has clearly been the target all year and he must be high amongst punters lists.
After winning the Group 3 Concorde Stakes connections said:
“There is improvement to come, we were confident we had enough to get us by today for the big one in October.”
The six-year-old son of Lope De Vega finished second behind Redzel in the Everest last season and has shown that he retains plenty ability this season with a Group 3 win and a close fourth behind Humidor in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes. The six-year-old has only stepped foot on the racecourse thirteen times so there may still be improvement left in him.
U S Navy Flag
The maestro of Ballydoyle sends the only European raider in the race in the form of U S Navy Flag. Aidan O'Brien sends last season's Champion two-year-old down under in an attempt to add this race to his illustrious CV. Aidan attempted to stretch the son of War Front over a mile in an attempt to land a classic but it just stretched his stamina. A drop down in trip for the July Cup resulted in an impressive victory. This race has been the plan since that and he must go close.
In Her Time
The Premiere Stakes is the key race when examining the Everest trial races. We have already looked at most of the field but the horse to take out the race may have been In Her Time who was having his first run for Kris Lees in the race and was beaten under a length on his first start in 140 days. Given normal progression from this run In Her Time must enter calculations in such an open contest.
Lloyd Kennewell's six-year-old landed her second Group 1 at Moonee Valley when last seen in competitive action. Nature Strip was a big disappointment that day and I have a sneaking suspicion it may not have been the strongest Group 1 event.
Another horse hailing from the Kris Lees stable is Graff. The three-year-old is one of the least experienced horses in the field but ran very well to finished third in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes. That run came over seven furlongs and against some more experienced and speedier rivals, I think he will come up well short.
The Darren Weir-trained five-year-old hasn't got his head in front since winning the Futurity Stakes at Caufield in February and although this has been the target for some time I don't see him having enough class to trouble the principals.
James Cummings five year old has progressed really well through the handicap ranks in recent times but came up short behind Jungle Cat in his first run in Group 1 company. There may be a big win ahead for the son of Street Cry but I don't see it being in this race.
The final Kris Lees runner is Le Romain who has the enviable record of shedding his maiden tag in a Group 1. This victory was over two years ago and Lees six-year-old has become accustomed to running in Group 1's since then. The son of Hard Spun finished runner-up to the wonder mare Winx when last seen and should appreciate the drop down in trip, even if more of the field have bigger potential going forward.
Selection: Vega Magic
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