By Ray Hickson
Champion jockey Craig Williams is predicting his Everest ride Vega Magic can train on to be Australia’s dominant sprinter-miler in the next couple of years.
The Perth owned, Victorian trained, sprinter has won 12 of his 17 starts and is unbeaten since transferring to the Lindsay Park team.
Williams, who has won two Group 1s on the five-year-old, holds him in very high regard.
“I wouldn’t peg him as just a sprinter, I think he has versatility and he has strength and that great will to win,’’ Williams said.
“In future he’s going to be a topliner for seasons to come. Whether it be as a sprinter or sprinter-miler I think they have options with him.’’
Vega Magic is the second favourite for the $10 million TAB Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday despite not having raced for six weeks since his Memsie win at Caulfield.
Williams said the gelding’s greatest asset is his strength and his record shows he has a will to win that only the best gallopers possess.
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“He has good tactical speed and great stamina and most important he has great ability. And he just wants to win,’’ he said.
“He’s very strong and tough and we saw that when he won the Goodwood and the Memsie over 1400m.
“He’s been targeted and trained for the Everest because of being what it is with the huge price tag. The reports I’ve had is that he’s going smoothly and handled going right handed in his lead up really well.’’
Vega Magic, who races in the slot owned by Max Whitby, will jump from barrier 10 in the Everest and Williams admits he’d have preferred an inside gate.
Not so much because he needs an easy passage but because it’s his first time racing in the Sydney direction.
But in a special track gallop on the course proper at Randwick on Monday the gelding certainly looked as though the direction of the race won’t cause him too many issues.
“Having his first go right handed and having drawn wide it means he’s going to need to be right on his mark,’’ he said.
“You’d rather have horses around you to help you get around the track rather than be on the outside of them.’’
If he comes through the Everest in good style, Vega Magic may head back to Perth for the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes in November.