With the G1 TAB Everest, the world's richest turf race ($13 million AUD, or $9.3 million), and G1 W.S. Cox Plate in October, high-profile Australian gallopers are ramping-up their preparations for both titles. While champion mare Winx won't run in the Everest, her campaign for a record fourth Cox Plate continues this weekend, when she attempts an unprecedented hat-trick in the G1 Colgate Optic White (George Main) Stakes.
G1 Colgate Optic White (George Main) Stakes
Run over 1⅛ mile at Randwick at 3:15 p.m. Sydney time on Saturday, Sept. 15th (1:15 a.m. EDT, or 10:15 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14th), this year's George Main Stakes sees Winx looking to extend her 26-consecutive race record after smashing Black Caviar's achievement last month in the G1 Winx Stakes. She's also looking to make race history and win the George Main for the third straight year and beat the 1:33.65 record she set last year in the Stakes.
Strong favorite (3/20) Winx's main opponents are her Chris Waller Racing stable-mate Unforgotten and Kris Lee's Le Romain (both at 12/1).
Waller remains very confident about Winx. “She is just constantly in the zone and everything is going to plan,” he said after an unofficial barrier trial for the George Main Stakes Sept. 1st. “The jump-out last week was perfect. It was just enough to get on top of her with the four weeks between runs.”
Given Winx's strong chance of winning the George Main Stakes, handicappers are advised to play a Trifecta. For the Winx Stakes, the Trifecta paid-out $473.65 for a $1 investment.
As Waller and Winx count down to the Cox Plate on Oct. 26th, they'll also be eyeing the performance of Humidor in this weekend's G1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington. The New Zealand-bred 6-year-old, who recently surprised in the G1 Memsie Stakes by defeating Kementari, currently offers the strongest challenge (15/1) to thwart Winx.
Meanwhile, the field is coming together for the Everest on Oct. 12th. Eleven runners are already listed for the race's second edition – and three of these will be making back-to-back appearances – while one slot is yet to be filled.
Australia's premier sprinter Redzel will make the Everest's first-ever title defense, teaming up with regular jockey Kerrin McEvoy to race for slot holder Yulong Investments. He recently won his second-straight G3 Concorde Stakes.
Redzel took the lead in Everest betting markets (7/2) after early favorite Trapeze Artist (slot holder Aquis Farm, with jockey Tye Angland) suffered his first defeat since winning the G1 All Aged Stakes and TJ Smith Stakes. The bookies now give him 4/1 odds.
Vega Magic and Brave Smash, also making their second Everest appearances, will once again chase Redzel home. Vega Magic was confirmed as a starter after he caught the attention of slot holder James Harron with an amazing first up in the G3 Bletchingly Stakes in July. He is currently 11/2 third favorite to topple Redzel.
Chris Waller has recruited the Darren Weir-trained Brave Smash and enlisted Hugh Bowman to take the reins. Weir will have double duties in the Everest as he also trains the Australian Turf Club-runner Nature Strip, the latest horse to confirm a place. Nature Strip's Everest assignment comes on the back of an astounding G2 McEwen Stakes win, when he set a Moonee Valley 5 furlong-record of 56.95 seconds.
Leading UK-based jockey Ryan Moore will head to Australia to ride the America-bred US Navy Flag for Coolmore. US Navy Flag wrote his name into the history books last year when he became the first horse in 35 years to capture both the Middle Park Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes in Great Britain.
Other horses who have secured starting positions in the Everest are the G1 Galaxy-winner In Her Time (slot holder TAB; jockey Corey Brown), three-time G1 winner Shoals (slot holder The Star; jockey Tim Clark), English (slot holder Damion Flower), the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bolt-trained Invincible Star (slot holder Greg Inham), and Santa Ana Lane (slot holder Inglis).
Anticipation is building amongst those eager to see their favorite horses fill the last remaining slot, which belongs to Max Whitby and Neil Werrett.
Punters will also be closely following Saturday's G2 The Shorts race at Randwick, which shapes as a major prep race for the Everest. Redzel, English, Brave Smash and Invincible Star will compete over 5½f at 2:00 p.m. local time on Saturday, Sept. 15th (midnight EDT or 9 p.m. PDT on Friday, Sept. 14th). Redzel is 4/5 favorite to win, but an upset from English or Invincible Star (both 4/1), or even Brave Smash (7/1), would change the betting market for the Everest itself.
Live coverage of this weekend's The Shorts and Winx in the George Main Stakes at Randwick and Humidor at Flemington is available via TVG. Fans can also use ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWager, HPIbet, AmWager, and BetAmerica to wager standard USA bet types on both races. Handicappers can visit skyracingworld.com for free expert picks and past performances.
About David Haslett
A former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, David was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand, South African and South American racing content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.
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