The world's richest turf race will be staged in Sydney this Friday night. A glittering array of talent will scorch the 6-furlong course at Royal Randwick in the third running of The Everest, which boasts a purse of AU$14 million (US$9.5 million). TVG will be broadcasting live from Royal Randwick (First Post: 6:30p.m. PT, 9:30p.m. ET) with TVG's Candice Hare and Sky Racing World 's Jason Witham trackside.
The Everest was modeled after the Pegasus races in Florida, whereby slots are purchased and deals consummated for the best available horse to occupy each slot.
Despite being in its infancy, The Everest has quickly become a focal point of the Australian racing calendar and has generated tremendous publicity for horse racing Down Under. The post position draw is held at night, with the silks of each horse spectacularly projected upon the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This innovative promotion of this International event showcases racing in Australia and has delivered a fresh optimism into the sport's future, as 78% of the 22,000 tickets sold last year were purchased by the highly coveted under-35 demographic.
The equine Edmund Hillary is a top-line sprinter named Redzel (9/1), who was the first conqueror of The Everest in 2017 before returning to the summit last year. The path to a possible hat-trick has been full of undulations, with Redzel on the verge of retirement a few months ago after a dip in form. However, since a minor arthritic complaint was identified and treated, the newly turned 7-year-old is “definitely as good as he ever has been,” per trainer Peter Snowden. That spells an ominous warning for his eleven rivals, but the depth of talent facing Redzel this year is greater than either of the first two editions.
One horse who has a proverbial bone to pick is Pierata (9/2), who was deemed unworthy of inclusion in last year's field – then proceeded to win the $500,000 “consolation” race in faster time than Redzel clocked in The Everest. Pierata's owners are to be applauded for reversing a decision to retire him to stud after a G1 win near the end of last season. A rich payday for Pierata would be a great advertisement for racehorses, as opposed to “breed” horses.
In a wide-open, tantalizing wagering race, marginal favoritism is held by Santa Ana Lane (7/2), who typically unleashes a lethal final furlong. Supremely talented mares Alizee (14/1), Arcadia Queen (4/1) and Sunlight (12/1) are big threats, and the untapped potential of Classique Legend (14/1) makes him a legitimate X-factor. Aidan O'Brien supplies international flavor with Ten Sovereigns (22/1), winner of the July Cup at Newmarket.
American fans will do a double-take (or even triple-take?!) when seeing the name Yes Yes Yes in the field. Confirming this is not the same horse once trained by Peter Eurton in California! Peter's daughter, Britney, therefore need not seek an exchange of horses in the “Climbing Everest” charity promotion. Sky Racing World has paired each horse with a North American racing personality/entity, and will graciously donate US$5,000 to the winner's charity of choice. Britney, who won last year with Redzel, will be cheering this time for Godolphin's leading chance Alizee (see the full list of participants and charities).
I am honored to have again been asked to participate, and have drawn longshot In Her Time (20/1). While only midfield in last year's The Everest, that race was her first and only encounter with a “heavy” track. In Her Time was scratched from a potential lead-up race to this year's event, to avoid similar conditions. However, fitness should not be an issue because In Her Time's best career stats are when fresh – her two Group One wins were both off layoffs. The mare is dangerous anytime she's produced fresh on firm footing, so I find reason for optimism at double-digit odds.
My charity of choice is GEVA, an equine rehabilitation and retirement facility in Northern California. I became familiar with the Glen Ellen Vocational Academy during the ten years I called the summer racing fair in Santa Rosa, where GEVA has a fundraising booth. Retired steward Pam Berg runs the non-profit, all-volunteer organization, which was narrowly spared by the devastating wildfire that ravaged Sonoma County in 2017. Pam has been honored with several awards for her dedication to horses in need, and I encourage readers to consider a donation at www.glenellenfarms.com/GEVA. With Sky Racing World's generous charity promotion, “Climbing Everest,” both Pam and I will be hoping 7yo In Her Time is still in her prime!
The Everest card at Randwick also features the G3 Craven Plate and the G3 Sydney Stakes which will be broadcast live on TVG alongside cards from Eagle Farm and Newcastle. All races will be live-streamed in HD on skyracingworld.com and major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWager, HPIbet, AmWager, and BetAmerica. Wagering is also available via these ADW platforms. Fans can get free access to live-streaming, past performances and expert picks on all races at skyracingworld.com.
About Michael Wrona
A native of Brisbane, Australia, Michael Wrona has called races in six countries. Michael's vast U.S. experience includes; race calling at Hollywood Park, Arlington and Santa Anita, calling the 2000 Preakness on a national radio network and the 2016 Breeders' Cup on the International simulcast network. Michael also performed a race call voiceover for a Seinfeld episode called The Subway.
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