|What||The Everest 2021|
|Where||Royal Randwick Racecourse – Alison Rd, Randwick NSW 2031|
|When||Saturday, October 16 | 4:15pm AEDT | Race 7|
|Conditions||Weight for age|
|2020 Winner||Classique Legend (6) | Trainer: Les Bridge | Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy (58.5kg)|
HorseBetting’s Sydney form analyst, Nicholas Lloyd, brings you his in-depth preview for all 12 runners in this year’s running of The Everest at Randwick this Saturday. The world’s richest race on turf has once again attracted a stellar line up of 1200m specialists, including last year’s winner, Classique Legend. As has been the case in the first four editions of The Everest, there will be plenty of speed engaged early, with the likes of Nature Strip, Eduardo, Home Affairs, Embracer and Lost And Running all natural speedsters. Classique Legend is the $4 favourite in his quest to go back-to-back, while Nature Strip ($4.50) is hot on his coattails. Masked Crusader ($7) sits on the third line of betting, while Eduardo ($8) and Gytrash ($8) round out those runners in single digits.
1. Nature Strip (10)
7yo G | T: Chris Waller | J: James McDonald (58.5kg) | Slot Holder: Chris Waller Racing
Nature Strip has been an enigma in his entire career, but he finally looks to be screwed down and ready to show his best once again. The son of Nicconi is now a seven-year-old, but we are convinced he is the best he has ever been en route to his third attempt in The Everest. The Chris Waller-trained gelding loves the Randwick 1200m, winning the TJ Smith Stakes in 2020 and 2021. First-up this campaign, Nature Strip blitzed his rivals in the Concorde Stakes, defeating Wild Ruler and Trekking by 2.5 lengths, with those two runners subsequently winning and placing third in the Group 1 Moir Stakes. From barrier 10, James McDonald will take Nature Strip forward and hopefully get him to relax off the hot tempo. This is his year.
2. CLASSIQUE LEGEND (5)
6yo G | T: Les Bridge | J: Kerrin McEvoy (58.5kg) | Slot Holder: Bon Ho
We haven’t seen last year’s winner in Australia since this race 12 months ago, but like Nature Strip, there just feels like a sense of timing about the grey flash. Classique Legend was set to be relocated to Hong Kong after The Everest last year, and while he did head there and compete in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint, he bled and ultimately finished 11th, so he was sent back to our shores. The son of Not A Single Doubt has had two trials in the lead-up to Saturday’s race and has won both in good style, so he should be fit enough to fire fresh. Kerrin McEvoy is looking to win his fourth Everest in just five years, so he is the right man for the job. Barrier five is ideal, as he should be able to get an almost identical run to when he won the race last year. Classique Legend will be hard to beat again.
3. EDUARDO (7)
8yo G | T: Joseph Pride | J: Nash Rawiller (58.5kg) | Slot Holder: The Star & Arrowfield
If we are making a case for Nature Strip, we have to have Eduardo in our calculations. Eduardo beat Nature Strip last start in The Shorts over 1100m after a tactically perfect ride by Nash Rawiller. The eight-year-old gelding is fairly lightly raced, having just 22 starts in his career for nine wins including The Galaxy and Doomben 10,000 in his autumn campaign. The son of Host has won two trials this preparation and was too good for Nature Strip in his only race start this time in, so his winning form bodes well. Drawn a touch awkwardly in barrier seven, he will be up on the speed again and look to run them into the ground like he tried – and failed – to do in last year’s race. Nash Rawiller could hold the key to his success in 2021.
4. GYTRASH (1)
6yo G | T: Gordon Richards & Damien Moyle | J: Jason Collett (58.5kg) | Slot Holder: Inglis
Also coming out of The Shorts is Gytrash, who looked to be the unlucky runner in that race when third. The South Australian sprinter ran third in The Everest last year and has done nothing wrong since then, expect for a 12th-place finish in the Kingsford-Smith Cup at Eagle Farm in May where he didn’t handle the hard surface. The six-year-old trialled exceptionally well prior to his first-up run, where he actually beat Anamoe by half a length. Gytrash had a quiet trial on October 5 at Warwick Farm where he ran third in what was a tick-over gallop. He looks to be going well enough to be competitive again.
5. TREKKING (4)
7yo G | T: James Cummings | J: Joshua Parr (58.5kg) | Slot Holder: Godolphin
It was somewhat of a surprise to see Trekking selected over Paulele to run in Godolphin’s slot, but you have to pay attention to the decision. The seven-year-old rarely runs a bad race, as is demonstrated in the fact that he has won a Stradbroke Handicap and a Goodwood Handicap as well as placing third in the 2019 edition of this race behind Yes Yes Yes. The son of Street Cry has had two runs this campaign, finishing third in both. First-up, Trekking ran third behind Nature Strip and Wild Ruler before heading to the Moir Stakes, where he was luckless in behind tiring leaders in the 1000m dash. Third-up and out to 1200m should suit, but the deteriorating conditions won’t be to his liking.
6. MASKED CRUSADER (9)
5yo G | T: Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes | J: Tommy Berry (58.5kg) | Slot Holder: Max Whitby & Neil Werret
One horse who is going to relish the hot tempo and likely wet track is Masked Crusader in his Everest debut. The five-year-old has won seven of his 15 career starts, including a dominant last-to-first win in the Premiere Stakes last time out at this track and distance. The son of Toronado finished second to Nature Strip in this year’s TJ Smith Stakes, which is top-tier form for this race, so he has to be respected. Team Hawkes are grand final trainers, and given that Masked Crusader has had three runs already this preparation, he should be rock-hard fit coming into The Everest fourth-up. Tommy Berry knows the horse very well, and although barrier nine is a touch wider than they would have liked, he can often be slow away anyway, so it shouldn’t be too much of a concern. Watch for him charging home late.
7. WILD RULER (11)
4yo H | T: Peter & Paul Snowden | J: Tim Clark (58.5kg) | Slot Holder: Yulong Investments
We are big fans of this bulldog of a horse who just loves finding the line. The four-year-old son of Snitzel has won six of his 13 career starts and was a deserving Group 1 winner in his most recent start at Moonee Valley in the Moir Stakes, taking his prizemoney beyond $2 million. The Snowdens trained Redzel to win the first two editions of The Everest, so he is in the right stable to be competitive, while he also undefeated at the Randwick 1200m. That said, the entire does not go a yard in wet tracks and often gets scratched when there is a downgrade of the track or simply isn’t accepted when rain is around, so the weather forecast for Sydney this weekend presents a massive concern. Include him if the rain stays away, but that looks unlikely.
8. THE INFERNO (12)
5yo G | T: Cliff Brown | J: Regan Bayliss (58.5kg) | Slot Holder: James Harron Bloodstock
Ex-Singaporean sprinter The Inferno has only had three starts in Australia, so he comes into this race as the unknown horse, but from what we have seen, he will be very competitive. Trained by Cliff Brown, The Inferno has won nine of his 12 starts, including five Listed wins in Singapore and a Group 2 win at Moonee Valley two starts ago in the McEwen Stakes, where he defeated a Group 1 winner in Portland Sky. The Inferno has since delivered a fast-finishing second to Wild Ruler in the Moir Stakes at Group 1 level. Getting to 1200m should suit this son of Holy Roman Emperor, while the bigger track at Randwick is most likely going to be more to his liking. The outside barrier is off-putting, but he will get back in the run anyway under Regan Bayliss, who has been riding in very good form of late.
9. EMBRACER (3)
6yo G | T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott | J: Jean Van Overmeire (58.5kg) | Slot Holder: James Kennedy
The outsider of the field is Embracer, who was only selected for a slot on Monday after Kennedy Racing’s original pick, Rothfire, was withdrawn from contention. Embracer has been in the placings in all three runs this campaign, getting run down late in his first two runs behind Private Eye and Chat, before running on strongly behind Masked Crusader and Standout in the Premiere on October 2. Drawn in barrier three, the Waterhouse & Bott-trained six-year-old will be sent forward in a bid to lead all of the way, but we don’t think he is sharp enough or classy enough. The $51 quote seems under the odds.
Lost And Running
10. LOST AND RUNNING (2)
5yo G | T: John O’Shea | J: Hugh Bowman (58.5kg) | Slot Holder: TAB
Lost And Running has had a bit of a fall from grace since winning six of his first seven career starts. Because he was snaffled up early by the TAB to run in the company’s slot, John O’Shea has been able to focus on having his talented five-year-old peak on the day. The son of Per Incanto trialled really well prior to his first-up run but disappointed when last in The Shorts behind Eduardo and Nature Strip on a Soft 7. The good barrier could see Hugh Bowman attempt to put him in the early speed battle and hope he can out-tough some of his rivals, but the horse just isn’t going well enough to win The Everest.
11. LIBERTINI (8)
5yo M | T: Anthony Cummings | J: Sam Clipperton (56.5kg) | Slot Holder: Aquis
The sole mare in the race is Anthony Cummings’ Libertini. The daughter of I Am Invincible defeated Classique Legend 12 months ago in the Premiere Stakes before the big grey turned the tables in The Everest, where Libertini finished four lengths away in eighth. She ran third in her next start in the VRC Classic at Flemington and has since only had two starts, running third in the William Reid Stakes at The Valley in March and eighth in the TJ Smith Stakes on April 10. Her two trials leading into The Everest haven’t been anything flash, but the rumour is that her work out of the public eye has been exceptional. The mare has a very good first-up record, winning twice and placing twice in five resuming runs, but her wet track form leaves a fair bit to be desired.
12. HOME AFFAIRS (6)
3yo C | T: Chris Waller | J: Glen Boss (53kg) | Slot Holder: Coolmore
While Libertini is the only mare in the race, Home Affairs is the sole three-year-old, looking to replicate the efforts of stablemate Yes Yes Yes from 2019. Owned by Coolmore and trained by Chris Waller, the son of I Am Invincible has had only five career starts for two wins. In the colt’s only run this campaign, he trounced his rivals in the Listed Heritage Stakes, defeating Paulele by 1.5 lengths over 1100m. Admittedly, that win came against his own age, so he does have to take the next step – and a very big one at that – to win The Everest at just his sixth start. In saying that, the horse profiles very similarly to Yes Yes Yes, who won the race two years ago for Waller under the riding of Glen Boss, so the recipe works.
Should a runner in the final field be scratched, the slot holder will have the choice of one of these four emergencies, who have been chosen collectively by the 12 holders.
13. KEMENTARI (58.5kg)
7yo G | T: James Cummings
Coming off a win in the Gilgai Stakes at Flemington a fortnight ago, Kementari would run a decent race if he were to gain a slot. The son of Lonhro has always shown ability, but he has never really put it all together on a racetrack.
14. SIGNORE FOX (58.5kg)
6yo H | T: Peter & Paul Snowden
Signore Fox trialled really well on September 24, closing off brilliantly behind Classique Legend. The son of Exceed And Excel ran third in both the Kingsford Smith Cup and Stradbroke Handicap at Group 1 level during the Brisbane Winter Carnival, so he would no doubt hold his own on the back of a hot speed.
15. STANDOUT (58.5kg)
5yo H | T: Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou
Another who has always shown ability without bringing it on race day is Standout. A winner of four from 15 and over $500,000 in prizemoney, the son of Exceed And Excel ran a very good second to Masked Crusader in the Premiere Stakes on October 2. His form prior was not good enough though.
16. CHAT (58.5kg)
5yo G | T: John Thompson
Chat is a bit of an interesting horse who always pops up in a good race at long odds, as was the case when he defeated Embracer two starts ago in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes at Kembla Grange over 1300m. He would relish the fast speed in the race, but it seems unlikely that he would keep up early on to challenge.
Best bets for The Everest 2021
In what is one of the hardest editions of The Everest, we are siding with the hard-to-catch Nature Strip to give Chris Waller his second win in the race and James McDonald his first. Although he got beaten in his most recent start, there was plenty of merit in the run given how quick he went early on in the race. The 1200m at Randwick is his go, and if the rain comes, it will only enhance his credentials. Classique Legend is looking to do what Redzel did by winning the race in back-to-back years, and while it will be some training feat should he do it first-up, you wouldn’t put it past Les Bridge to get the job done. Masked Crusader should relish the speed of the race and be getting home quickly late, while Trekking could be the one to cause a surprise victory after an unlucky run last time out. You could make a case for plenty of runners, including Eduardo and Gytrash, but we cannot pick them all.
|$100 betting strategy|
|$100 win:||Nature Strip|