The $10million TAB Everest has been all the talk for the last few months, with the inaugural running of the world’s richest race on turf set to be run this Saturday at Royal Randwick.
The race sees 12 of Australia’s best sprinters line up over 1200m to compete for a 1st prize of $5.8 million, and we’ve got a full runner-by-runner analysis of the big race below.
The Randwick track is currently rated a Good 4, but there is light rain predicted on Thursday and Friday before 3-8mm of rain predicted on Saturday. I think we’ll eventually end up around the Soft 5 or 6 range.
TEMPO & SPEED MAP
There is plenty of discussion about who will lead, but I see Redzel as the only one who ‘needs’ to lead to win and so from barrier 4 I think they’ll lead at all costs. Deploy, Vega Magic and Houtzen are the three that can push forward and contest the lead if they want to, while Fell Swoop and Tulip could also be prominent from wide barriers. She Will Reign looks to get a great run from barrier 2 and the same can be said for Redkirk Warrior in barrier 3; I think they’ll just ride those two where they’re comfortable. English, Brave Smash, Clearly Innocent and Chautauqua should make up the back division. So, from all of that, I think we’ll see this run at a good pace. Redzel can’t run slowly in front, and won’t be allowed to be even if he were to try.
Chautauqua: I think he’s going well and what I learnt last preparation was that the Hawkes stable know how to target him for his grand final, and this has long been his grand final. First up his run was super, and last start he was good once again despite going down as favourite. He’s primed to peak for this race, and his third up record reads six starts, three wins and two placings. He may have just been struggling to make up as much ground as he did in the TJ Smith Stakes because the ground has been very firm, but the rain will take the cut out of the ground and I think that will help backmarkers get into the race. The big thing in his favour is the hot tempo expected. His best performances have come when he is able to unleash his huge turn of foot off a hot speed. I think he’s a huge chance.
Vega Magic: I personally think this horse is a star and I’d have him comfortably on top if he drew a good barrier. But so much of this race depended on speed mapping and barrier draws, and he looks to have a task ahead of him from barrier 10. I do, however, think there could be enough pace on to let him slide across to take a sit if they decide to take a sit on Deploy. He has 9 wins from 12 starts at the distance, has won twice from three starts when third up, and he’s undefeated since coming over from the West, including two Group 1 victories. An extra string to his bow is the fact he’s proven over 1400m, so if the tempo is hot here he will have the stamina to last. He’s my top pick but will need a 10/10 from Craig Williams.
Redzel: I really like this horse and since they’ve figured out how to ride him (lead) he’s lost just twice in his last seven starts, both times beaten just a nose. One of those was when he jumped slow and got caught three-wide on speed when losing to English, and the other was when he lost to Russian Revolution. From barrier 4 I think they’ll lead at all costs and if he gets an easy sectional he just might fight them all off. He’s had seven starts at the track for four wins and two placings, has won his only start at the track and distance, and has Kerrin McEvoy aboard, so he ticks plenty of boxes. My concern is firstly, the potential for horses to take him on up front, and if it’s run at a strong tempo, the final stages of the 1200m might just find him out.
Redkirk Warrior: David Hayes has been so bullish for so long about this horse being his Everest horse and that’s what makes me hesitant to take him on. He draws perfectly in barrier 3 and his second up record is near faultless, with his only defeat coming last prep on the wet track. I have no doubts about his ability going the Sydney direction, because he won races going that way in Hong Kong before he came to Australia. If there was no rain predicted I’d be keen but as we saw last prep, he just doesn’t go in the wet. In fact, he’s about the only horse in the field that doesn’t want it to rain, so expect his price to continue to drift.
Clearly Innocent: I think this is your value runner. I think he’s flying and his first up run suggested as much, because he typically is fair first up before improving significantly second up. That’s what we saw last prep when he was unplaced first up but then bolted in second up at over 1300m at Scone. He will relish the conditions – he’s undefeated on wet ground – and he’ll also love the tempo of the race. From barrier 6 we can expect him to settle just worse than midfield and just ahead of the backmarkers. He won’t have to be bustled early, and he’ll get a nice trail from barrier 6 with Hugh Bowman aboard. Like Vega Magic, he’s proven over slightly further which will come in handy if it’s a testing 1200m. At $15 I expect him to run a mighty race.
Deploy: Undoubtedly his hardest test to date, but he comes off a win in track record time in Group 2 company over 1300m at Rosehill. He’s also won six of his last eight starts. The form out of his wins is questionable though. Last start he beat Egg Tart and Euro Angel. Egg Tart is an Oaks winner whose best is over much further than 1300m, and she sprinted better than everything else. Euro Angel wouldn’t hold a candle to these. Two starts ago he beat The Virginian by a nose, with Burning Passion back in 3rd. I think they’ll take a sit from barrier 7, or sit outside the leader, but I doubt they’ll get the front. Have to take him on in this field.
Fell Swoop: Just hasn’t been that good this prep. He’s a five-time Group 1 placegetter but unfortunately, he’s finished 6th and 8th in two starts back from a spell. If there’s any consolation, he was only beaten 2.1L first up and he did have excuses second up after being caught wide. He’s also never missed a place third up from a spell, so he should be peaking for this. When he ran 2nd in the TJ Smith this year he settled outside the leader, before eventually being run down by Chautauqua and English, but he won’t get that spot today, nor an easy time on speed. I think from barrier 8 they’ll drift back instead of risking being caught wide again, and I just don’t think he’s going well enough to win from there.
Brave Smash: Huge first up behind Vega Magic and a repeat of that performance would see him competitive, but he’s since been underwhelming. He fought hard to win two starts ago when he was three-wide the trip at Moonee Valley, but if he were any chance of winning this he surely should have won last start. Bons Away was the horse who beat him, and he’s subsequently been unplaced in a race since. Weir has put the blinkers on him for the first time and said they’ve sharpened him up, but he’s also said he needs to seriously lift to be competitive. If they run the race ridiculously hard, he could go better than his odds suggest, because the Japanese horses typically are able to accelerate off a hot tempo. Place chance at best I’d think.
English: Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s mare surprised me with how well she ran last start, because her second up runs have typically been rather flat. But she sprinted sharply when finishing 2nd to In Her Time, and In Her Time is a very good sprinter in her own right and would be competitive in this field. She settled towards the back of the field on that occasion, and from barrier 12 they will do the same. She’s got a great record over the track and distance, and a great record (despite not winning) third up from a spell. Wet track is no problem, and a repeat of her performance when 2nd to Chautauqua in the TJ Smith would see her g very close to winning this. I’ve got a few ahead of her, but I can’t dismiss her chances.
She Will Reign: This three-year-old filly left me with egg on my face when winning the Group 1 Moir Stakes brilliantly first up. My general rule of thumb is to take on three-year-old’s having their first start in Open class company against older horses, but she produced a huge effort to win despite circling wide on a night that was tough to make ground. However, she got the race run to suit given there was such a hot tempo on up front, which set it up for the likes of her and Viddora to come home over the top. This is also a significantly harder field than what she faced in the Moir. Having said that, she couldn’t have drawn a better barrier for this race. She’ll take a sit from barrier 2 and we saw her accelerate brilliantly on wet ground from back in the field when winning the Golden Slipper. I’m not ruling her out completely, but I can’t back her here as favourite because the field is just so strong and I have to stick with what’s worked for me so well in the past.
Houtzen: Her first up run in the McEwen Stakes was an example of when my ‘three-year-old in Open company’ rule worked. I thought her win last start was solid despite not being brilliant, but the obvious query is whether that performance would see her be competitive in an Everest. The one person that remained unfazed was jockey Jeff Lloyd, who said Houtzen had plenty more to offer and could have put a margin on them if he wanted her to. Regardless, the form from the Magic Millions has hardly set the world alight, and I personally can’t see her being a legitimate winning chance here on what we’ve seen this prep.
Tulip: A very odd decision for Coolmoore to run Tulip as their representative given they paid a $600,000 entry fee, but as a leading global breeding operation I guess that money is pocket change. It’s more important to them to have one of their runners represent them, especially one that’s bred by one of their hottest new sires, Pierro. She’s obviously very talented, but she’s got to be no hope of troubling the better horses in this race over 1200m. I think they’ll go forward from barrier 11, but she’ll probably be trapped wide if she does that. Aiming too high.
I’ve been a Vega Magic fan for a long time, and despite the barrier draw giving Craig Williams one or two things to think about, I’ve got him on top. I think he’s a genuine star and has the right profile to win this, so if he manages to get cover just off the hot speed, I think he’ll be a huge chance of winning. Chautauqua is the horse I’m terrified of and I’ll be having something on him at the odds. His whole preparation has been tailored towards winning this race, and he’s going to get conditions that will suit him perfectly here, unlike what he’s had in his first two runs this prep. Hot speed, cut out of the ground, pet track and distance. He’ll be motoring home. Clearly Innocent is the clear value in the race, for mine. Should improv markedly off his first up run and draws ideally with Bowman on board. Redzel will give a good sight in front, She Will Reign should be competitive and unfortunately, I see the rain being Redkirk Warrior’s worst enemy.
1st VEGA MAGIC
3rd CLEARLY INNOCENT
4th SHE WILL REIGN
_ _ _
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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