The Everest unpacked

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The Everest unpacked

Randwick

The Everest, the richest horse race in the world on turf, will be decided on Saturday at Randwick in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. Here is what you need to know about this race which was first run in 2017.

WHAT IS IT?

The Everest is a 1200m sprint for a maximum field of 12 horses around Randwick.

It’s held under weight-for-age conditions, which means weights are allocated according to age rather than on form, as in handicaps. Mares carry two kilos less than males in the same age category, and thus we have six-year-old gelding Nature Strip at the top of the field with 58.5kg, and three mares at the bottom with 56.5.

WHAT’S IT WORTH?

Quite a lot really. A$15-million (R176-million) to be exact. The winner earns A$6.2m (R72m), second wins A$2.14m (R25m), and in the best bit of salvation for a bad day ever seen, the horse running last earns A$450,000 (R5.2m).

HOW’S IT WORK?

The Everest works under an unusual entry fee structure. A person, or entity, can become a slot holder by buying said slot (after approval from authorities) for A$600,000 (R7m), which helps fund the whole shebang. So while A$450,000 is a lot for running last, it still represents a loss on the whole deal of running. So too does anything running sixth (A$500,000) or worse.

Having bought their position, slot holders will then nominate which horse will fill their spot, and work out with that horse’s owners what sort of deal they’ll make for the sharing of spoils. Therefore, the field isn’t brought together by regular means, under long-established patterns, and therefore no Group status.

The slot holders include breeding industry giants such as Godolphin, Coolmore, the TAB, The Star casino, and smaller concerns such as James Harron Bloodstock, and trainer Chris Waller, who prepared Winx.

THE FIELD

1. NATURE STRIP (Barrier 5). Has a lot of natural pace as evidenced by 14 wins from 25 starts. Just been named Australian Horse of the Year. Top jockey and trainer in James McDonald and Chris Waller, and was a decent enough fourth in this race last year.

2. TREKKING (4). Consistent sprinter, as you tend to get from the James Cummings/Godolphin stable. Ran third in this race last year and has the same jockey this time in the underrated Josh Parr.

3. CLASSIQUE LEGEND (6). Kerrin McEvoy rides and he knows what this race is about, having won the first two Everests on Redzel.

4. SANTA ANA LANE (8). Is a grand old campaigner at eight years of age, and has a fierce will to win. Finished second in this race last year, only beaten half a length by the three-year-old who carried 5.5kg less, Yes Yes Yes.

5. BEHEMOTH (2). Has an inside barrier and a cool, experienced jockey in Nash Rawiller. And if you want bloodlines, Black Caviar’s his aunty (a half-aunty, to be precise, as she’s a half-sister to Behemoth’s dad, All Too Hard).

6. BIVOUAC (10). The second of the James Cummings runners who, like Nature Strip, can be a hard one to catch. Perhaps most importantly he has Glen Boss on board, the man with a happy knack of claiming major races (like last year’s Everest).

7. GYTRASH (7). He’s won nine all told, including five of his past nine, which includes the G1 Lightning over 1000m at Flemington. Should gain a decent spot in running from gate 7.

8. EDUARDO (9). An intriguing sprinter, as he didn’t race until he was nearly five (most start at two). But he announced himself with a G2 Caulfield sprint win at only his fifth race. Form tapered off after that, but a switch to Sydney and the stable of Joe Pride seems to have brought his best back.

9. DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR (1). Is in the field after the late scratching of another horse. Also has gate 1, which is perfect in this instance as he likes to take up a forward spot and won’t have to work too hard to get it.

10. TOFANE (11). The first of the mares, this five-year-old had her biggest moment at this track – winning a G1 over 1400m last April.

11. LIBERTINI (12). This mare was going to be a superstar, after winning four of her first five last year, all at very short odds. She then proved costly when failing to win her next four. There were excuses last autumn, however, with a niggling injury to a hind limb.

12. HAUT BRION HER (3). Looks a very smart and fast mare in the making, and only lightly raced, with six wins and three placings from 10 starts. – foxsports.com.au, punters.com.au

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