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The Starting Gate - Monday 9th October

The Starting Gate By Ray Hickson

Everest climb not beyond Clark

Underdog status sits very well with jockey Tim Clark as he prepares to ride outsider Tulip in Saturday’s $10 million TAB Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick.

Tulip, one of three fillies in the Everest, is a $51 chance after being a somewhat surprise selection by owners Coolmore to run in their slot.

Clark will ride the filly at 51kg and is taking a very open minded approach to the big race.

“We’re going in there with no pressure on us but I’ll approach it like any other race,’’ Clark said.

Tulip runs fourth in the Tea Rose Stakes

“I’ve seen her race, I’ve watched a few of her replays again already. There’s not much more I can do until I see the barrier draw and work out a plan from then.

“Her form reads all right, she beat Alizee and ran third in a Slipper.’’

It’s easy to forget that Tulip did place behind Everest favourite She Will Reign ($4.60) back in March in the Slipper after racing wide and gaining third on protest ahead of Menari.

Tulip ran fourth in the Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) behind Alizee and Champagne Cuddles last month after an unlucky defeat first-up in Melbourne.

“She hasn’t won this prep, she struggled a little at the 1400m the other day but back to 1200m with 51kg on her back I can’t see why she won’t run well,’’ Clark said.

“Hopefully I can give her a good ride. You never know what might happen.

“There’s so much promotion about the race and it’s good for racing, it’s going to be a specatacle and I’m glad to be part of it.’’

Stewards warning

All 12 jockeys in the Everest will have the riot act read to them by chief steward Marc Van Gestel to ensure a clean first running of the world’s richest turf race.

While it isn’t a Group 1 and there are only 12 runners, the race is worth $10 million.

Because of that, Van Gestel said stewards will be treating it like a Golden Slipper or Doncaster when it comes to any rough house tactics.

“It’s a big pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We’ll certainly be letting the riders know of their obligations regarding careless riding,’’ he said.

Waller attacks revived St Leger

Who Shot Thebarman and Libran will be out to earn Melbourne Cup berths as they headline the $500,000 ATC St Leger (2600m) on Saturday.

The St Leger, first run in 1841, hasn’t been a part of the Sydney calendar since 2001 and Waller is using the race to test his pair’s Cup credentials.

Who Shot Thebarman is in line for his fourth straight Melbourne Cup having run third in 2014, 11th in 2015 and fifth last year.

He ran fourth in the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) on September 30 with Libran in sixth place.

"They both galloped on Saturday morning and galloped really well, they’ll have their final hit out on Tuesday,’’ Waller’s racing manager Charlie Duckworth said.

“Who Shot Thebarman is ready to win a race, he tries very hard but more times than not bumps into one that has more luck or is a bit too good.’’

Revolution out, Calanda in

Group 1 winner Russian Revolution won’t be seen again until early in the new year but trainer Peter Snowden said he’ll give the promising Calanda a chance at the top level this spring.

The four-year-old, who beat The Monstar in the Ramornie Handicap at his last run at Grafton in July, has his second barrier trial this prep at Warwick Farm on Monday.

Calanda had a very quiet hitout at Randwick on September 25 and contests an 800m trial alongside Tactical Advantage who is now with Joe Pride.

“We’ll let him have a bit of a squeeze this time,’’ Snowden said.

‘’I’m happy with him, he’ll run on Wednesday week at Caulfield then two weeks later MSS Sprint at Flemington and if he runs well in that we’ll take him to Perth.’’

Meanwhile Russian Revolution, owned in similar interests to Calanda, is likely to be aimed at the Oakleigh Plate in the early part of the autumn after failing in the Moir Stakes.

“He went way too hard, Hughie was the first to put his hand up. He was totally out of his comfort zone,’’ Snowden said.

Zonk’s turn

After making way for stablemate Slow Burn to return a winner last week, Zonk has her chance to post a first-up win at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.

Zonk is slated to return in a Benchmark 70 over 1100m on the back of her impressive trial win at Randwick on September 25 where she clocked faster time than Slow Burn.

Trainer Les Bridge said Zonk is going well ahead of her belated return but has no hesitation in placing Slow Burn above her in the pecking order.

“I think Slow Burn has got a bit on her and in six months she could be a really good mare,’’ Bridhe said.

Horses to follow

Shillelagh's luckless first-up run at Randwick on Saturday

Our Mantra (Randwick) – outstanding performance to get as close as he did after dropping out to last. Take nothing from the winner, but he showed a great turn of foot and according to Punter’s Intel data ran 11.05 from the 400m-200 and a fastest last 600m of 34.05. Ready to win a Saturday race at least.

Shillelagh (Randwick) – first-up off a nice trial and she found a lot of backsides and consequently had little chance to do any winding up. Was back with Souchez (ran fourth) in the run and was held up inside him for much of the straight but did some good work late under no pressure once she got to the outside.

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