By Brad Gray
Put yourself in the shoes of a slot holder for the world’s richest turf race, The TAB Everest.
Redkirk Warrior and Vega Magic are assured positions in the field while if Houtzen wins as she is expected to on Friday night at Moonee Valley, that leaves two vacant spots. Of the horses remaining, who would you choose?
We spoke to professional punter and director of The Ratings Bureau (TRB) Daniel O’Sullivan to sort out the contenders from the pretenders.
“I'd be looking closely at Clearly Innocent. Kris Lees took him to a new level in Brisbane, running a genuine Group One WFA Performance Rating of 106.5 in the Kingsford Smith Cup,” O’Sullivan revealed.
“He then backed it up with a 103 rating when third in the Stradbroke. Had he drawn better and been a little closer in the run, then he most likely pushes a 104-105 rating in that race. He has proven that he can run the level of overall time rating that will be needed to be very competitive in The Everest and he certainly has a Group One quality turn of foot.
“Based on the exposed form of the contenders, The Everest is likely to be won in no less than a 105 rating and more likely a 106-107 rating. With a 106.5 in his recent form, Clearly Innocent certainly wouldn't be out of place. He's proven effective on both wet and dry, which is an extra asset should they strike a rain affected track.”
The connections of Russian Revolution have made no secret of that fact that will get past the Moir Stakes before fielding interest for The Everest but O’Sullivan says the four-year-old is certainly worthy of consideration.
“Russian Revolution returned with a new 105.5 rating peak over 1000m in the McEwen which is the competitive zone for The Everest. We'll get to see what he does in the Moir on Friday night, but he's no doubt a talented sprinter,” he said.
O’Sullivan, based on TRB’s ratings system and his own analysis, also went on to reveal where he thought the likes of In Her Time, Spieth and Terravista fit into The Everest picture.
“In Her Time has a 103.9 WFA Performance rating from her excellent second placing in the Stradbroke. Her next best run is 1.5L below that level though, so I still want to see if she can repeat that Stradbroke rating. Even if she could, it won't be good enough to win The Everest so I have to pass on her,” O’Sullivan said.
“Spieth has been desperately unlucky not to have two Group One wins on his CV, but in the context of both speed measures and WFA Performance Ratings they were below standard races. He'd need to run to a new career peak. That's not impossible but, given the task he faces and the fact he pulled up with issues out of his first up run, I couldn't take him into the race with any confidence.
“Terravista’s four best ratings in the last two years have all come up the Flemington straight and as an eight-year-old he's now a level below The Everest standard.”
And what about a tip two weeks out from the $10 million sprint feature?
“For the record, Vega Magic is my top choice in the race - narrowly - and I'm praying each night for the $15 I secured a few weeks ago.”