The TAB Everest
AU$20m, 1200m, WFA
Randwick 1615 local, 0615 UK
1. I Wish I Win (1)
Loves the big money races in Sydney, won the $10m Golden Eagle over 1500m last October and the $3.1m TJ Smith over 1200m in April. Wins going left or right, heavy or good going, 1200 up to 1500. Unplaced just once in eight runs in Australia when caught back and wide in last year's Toorak. One run this spring, a close third behind Mr Brightside in the Memsie, in what was obviously a tune-up run for this. Biggest worry for him is the inside gate, back on the rail is a big risk but he does have a strong finish to get him out of trouble.
2. Private Eye (9)
Finished second to Giga Kick in the race last year, when second-up after his winter spell. Last year he'd won the Gilgai at Flemington in the lead-up, this year he's claimed the Shorts at Randwick (ahead of Overpass and Buenos Noches). 50% win strike rate first- and third-up, yet only 29% second-up. Bounce factor, aiming too high second-up or just a statistical anomaly? Close last year, fourth in the Newmarket just behind IWIW. In the mix.
3. Think About It (5)
Stablemate of Private Eye and the new favourite after IWIW drew the fence. Outstanding record, winning 10 of 11 career starts, only beaten in a BM72 at his third start. Just this year he has progressed from restricted midweek class to being a multiple Group winner, claiming the Kingsford Smith (G1 1300m), Stradbroke (G1 1400m) and Premiere Stakes (G2 1200m) in his last three starts. Flying machine and lovely to see a great one not in the standard elite ownership groups. Narrow win over Hawaii Five Oh last time, will improve for the run, first-up after 16 wks. Prime draw in five, can sit close or even lead.
4. Mazu (11)
The outsider of the field who has won a paltry $6.9m. Ran third in the race last year (soft track), third in the TJ Smith behind I Wish I Win (heavy) and third in the Doomben 10,000 (good) behind Giga Kick. A winner of seven races from 20 starts, only one of those has been on a dry surface. It's not that he's hopeless on dry, the wet just slows others down more than him. Drawn wide, but drew the same gate last year. Fast enough to work across to a forward position if desired.A big leap of faith to suggest he can win but could chuck a lot of value into the exotics with a placing.
5. Overpass (2)
Likes chasing the cash in these new pop-up races - last season ran sixth in the Everest, ninth in the Golden Eagle, tenth in the Hunter, then he freshened up and went west for the $4m Quokka and beat Amelia's Jewel by a nose. He has continued that form with close seconds in the Doomben 10,000 (to Giga Kick) and The Shorts here a month ago (to Private Eye). Goes better fresh and loves to lead, but his 0/8 record at Randwick is a concern. Surely they'll take him on in front and not let him have a soft lead?
6. Buenos Noches (8)
A mere pauper with only $693k prizemoney behind him from nine starts. Was just nosed out by Giga Kick in the Danehill at Flemington last year before that winner went on to win the Everest and a few other big races. Buenos Noches hasn't kicked on quite as fast, running third in the Coolmore, fifth in the Lightning and seventh in the Newmarket, all down the straight six. He's come north for this prep, winning the Show County then finishing third in the Shorts, beaten 0.66L behind Private Eye and Overpass, having needed to wait for a run from an inside position. I think he's good enough to win if the breaks go his way, but for that you need a premium on price. Not sure if 12/1 is quite enough.
7. Hawaii Five Oh (10)
Singo's flying machine, one of the last horses he'll ever own having sold virtually all of his thoroughbred assets off lately. And he kept hold of this one because he's damn good. A winner of the Hawkesbury Guineas and Fred Best Classic (both G3s) last autumn, he stepped into open company to finish third in the Stradbroke (behind Think About It with a 4.5kg advantage, having every chance from the box seat). This time in, he ran sixth in the Shorts but followed that up with a close second in the Premiere Stakes, just behind Think About It at weight-for-age. You'd expect the favourite will see more improvement in fitness out of that run, but with JMac aboard, he has to be in the mix.
8. Alcohol Free (7)
Imported mare who they (Yulong) paid an eye-watering ~$10m for as a breeding prospect, but decided to have a shot at the stumps in some rich Sydney races as well. A triple Group 1 winner (Coronation Stakes, Sussex Stakes and July Cup), she was top class in the UK and should measure up here as well. So far in Australia she has drawn inside gates both times and not appeared to enjoy it. In her UK wins, she's always had plenty of space to settle and make her runs. Drawing seven and with Craig Williams (won last year on Giga Kick) aboard for the first time, she might be able to park away from the rail and have a bit more control over her race. Her form in Aus hasn't screamed 'back me' but a change of circumstance could be enough to get her into the first four at big odds.
9. In Secret (12)
Flying machine who won the Coolmore Stud Stakes and Newmarket Handicap G1s at Flemington as a 3yo, and most recently hasn't had a lot of luck in two starts this preparation over slightly shorter trips. She gets an upgrade in jockey, Zac Lloyd (goes onto Cylinder) to the king of Hong Kong, Zac Purton, but he'll need to be at his brilliant best to find a good position from the outside gate. Worth noting that five of her six defeats have been at Randwick. Better suited here but a few things against her.
10. Espiona (3)
Seemingly better at 1400-1500m, winning just once from six attempts at this trip (on her racetrack debut), and once from five at Randwick. Best form in mares class, often with weight concessions as well. Drawn well, Waller + Bowman, but can't have her at anything near this price.
11. Shinzo (6)
Star 2yo who won the Golden Slipper last season but was only average in the Golden Rose three weeks ago, and pulled up lame. Had issues getting back to the track and needed to have a run before the Everest, but it didn't work for him. It's probably even harder now but he did trial OK a week ago. Worth a fortune for Coolmore and they are having a throw at the stumps with their slot. If he fails here, he'll be straight off to stud. No grumpy Ryan Moore aboard (no chance to make this weight), Kerrin McEvoy takes over - he's won this race three times from only six runnings.
12. Cylinder (4)
High-quality Godolphin colt who was runner-up in the Slipper as a 2yo, and has taken a step forward as a 3yo. He was brilliant winning the Run to the Rose in early September and then got nosed out on the line in the Golden Rose a fortnight later after being caught wide without cover. He is fit and ready to go with three runs already this campaign and the 3yo weight allowance (two 3yos have won from six editions). Great chance.
plus four emergencies who will have to negotiate with the slotholders of any scratched horse before getting a run.
For such a high value race targetted by a few breeders, it's curious that five of the six runnings have been won by geldings. Note for race promoters in Europe who like to preach the exclusive/breeding bullshit - geldings like to come back the next year and the year after to strengthen the event, rather than rush off to stud. Yes Yes Yes has been the only colt or entire to win - he had his first winner in his initial 2yo crop just last weekend. No filly or mare has won yet - they 'waited' until after Black Caviar had retired before creating the race!
Classy field, more open than most years. It'd be very easy to focus on the top three on the page but with the right luck, several others can be right in the finish. I can see Overpass leading with Mazu outside him and Cylinder right on his back. Who is behind him is critical - will it be Think About It or I Wish I Win? Someone will come around the outside and sit three wide coming off the bend, meaning Cylinder probably waits for Mazu to tire before he can squeeze through. But I think he will, and get enough of a break on those caught in traffic to pinch it. Think About It is too honest not to be in the frame while Alcohol Free is my smokey to stick on for a place.
3. Think About It
8. Alcohol Free
Backing Cylinder at around 7/1 and Alcohol Free e/w at 50/1+.