The Everest resulted in a fast pace but not quite the cracking pace anticipated
The inaugural $10,000,000 The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday did what it was designed to do – stimulate interest in a new Sydney racing concept, drawing a crowd of 35,512 but it did not see the race run at quite the cracking pace as anticipated.
In a field of 12, there were four horses most likely to force a hot tempo but two of them, Vega Magic (Lope De Vega) and Deploy (Fastnet Rock), desisted in doing so.
The most noteworthy being Craig Williams’ decision to ease the $4.80 favourite Vega Magic from his wide barrier (ten), rather than press forward as Damien Oliver had done successfully when winning the Regal Roller Stakes (Listed, 1200m) from the same barrier at Caulfield on 19 August.
A quick pace was supplied from not a strongly contested lead with the three-year-old filly Houtzen (I Am Invincible) driving through from her inside barrier (one) to go to the front with subsequent winner Redzel (Snitzel) at her girth.
Time for the first 600 metres was 34.21, first 800 metres 45.29 and first 1000 metres 56.41 before Redzel drew clear and scored in a time of 1:08.36 for the 1200 metre trip.
That was 0.3 seconds outside of the Randwick track record of 1:08.06, which was set by Deploy in winning the Show County Quality (Gr 3, 1200m) on 19 August.
And it was 0.1 outside of the time recorded in the prior race by In Her Time (Time Thief) in winning the upgraded Sydney Stakes (registered as City Tatts Lightning) (Listed, 1200m), which acted as a consolation to The Everest as the winner unluckily missed out on gaining a start.
Redzel, who fought back well to hold off the late-closing Vega Magic and win by three quarters of a length, was timed to run his last 600 metres in 33.98 and last 400 metres in 22.95 with the runner-up clocking 33.53 (last 600m) and 22.62 (last 400m).
While some of the fastest closing sectionals of the race were recorded by six-time Group One winning sprinter Chautauqua (Encosta De Lago) who came from last to finish fourth, beaten a length and a half.
Chautauqua ran his last 600 metres in 32.98 and his last 400 metres in 22.30, his jockey Brenton Avdulla electing to charter a course along the inside rather than switch deep as the fast-finishing grey has done so successfully on many occasions in the past.
Avdulla later took to Twitter to explain his tactics, which included comments that he felt the race had changed complexion when Vega Magic was ridden from behind, deleting the prospects of a really hot tempo.
That made Chautauqua’s task more difficult in coming from so far back, that added to the fact that the false rail was out six metres, he looked for a shorter course along the rails rather than attempting to switch deeper in the straight.
Those factors probably resulted in defeat rather that success, judging by the way Chautauqua was overhauling his rivals in the closing stages.
But no one should really question Williams for not going forward on Vega Magic as that was also a gamble as he could have been posted on a hot tempo.
However, the subject of having the false rail out six metres for the running of a $10,000,000 race was unfortunate to say the least.
The Everest meeting was the third Randwick meeting in succession, so the rail movement is understood under those circumstances.
Had the race been run the week prior, that could have been avoided, plus it would have provided a superior support programme with the Spring Champion Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) and Roman Consul Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) and would have also prevented the $10,000,000 race clashing with the feature Caulfield Guineas meeting.
Those comments aside, The Everest was still an undoubted success that attracted a large crowd and considerable publicity which the Australian Turf Club and Racing New South Wales will obviously further develop.
It also attracted Group One standard sprinters, the best currently in training in Australia, The Everest obviously deserving of Group One recognition which should happen sooner rather than later.
Apart from the focus on The Everest, the aforementioned Caulfield programme had ten races, all being stakes class with four at Group One level.
In the Ladbrokes Stakes (registered as Caulfield Stakes) (Gr 1, 2000m) the French-bred import Gailo Chop (Deportivo) staged a solid front-running effort before holding on to defeat the Irish-bred/Aidan O’Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer (Galileo) by a head.
Time for the race was 2:02.17 which saw the first 1400 metres run in 1:26.55 (12.36 200m rate) with the final 600 metres in 35.62 (11.87 200m rate).
While the winner will now try his chances against the seemingly invincible Winx (Street Cry) in Saturday week’s Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) the runner-up Johannes Vermeer has become CrownBet’s $4.20 favourite for tomorrow’s Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m).
And Johannes Vermeer’s sudden advancement to favouritism seems justified considering his outstanding Australian debut, where he came from back in seventh place for his late-closing second running the fastest sectional times of the race.
Johannes Vermeer was timed to run his last 1000 metres in 58.88, last 800 metres in 46.82, last 600 metres in 34.96, last 400 metres in 23.39 with his final 200 metres in 12.20.
In the Caulfield Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m), a race noted for surprise results over the years, this edition saw a prime example with success going to the $101 chance Mighty Boss (Not A Single Doubt) whose only other win in six starts was a two-year-old maiden (1208m) at Sale in July.
Mighty Boss then had the good fortune to gain a start after being made the emergency for the race and was the beneficiary of a great ride by Michael Walker who steered the colt along the rails from midfield to score.
But luck only carries you so far and Mighty Boss’ win clearly showed that he had been underrated as the Mick Price-trained colt demonstrated stamina and ability in coming off a hectic early pace to score a Group One victory.
The hot tempo was set by the Peter Morgan-trained colt Sircconi (Nicconi) who led the field to the 400 metres point before weakening to finish tenth after being clocked to run the first 1000 metres in 58.68.
Mighty Boss then ran on from back in tenth place at the home turn to win by a neck from Kementari (Lonhro) with Catchy (Fastnet Rock) a length away in third and Royal Symphony (Domesday) fourth – the first four over the line coming from back in the field while those close to the pace suffered the consequences.
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