By Ray Hickson
South Australian trainer Gordon Richards is about to set off on a 1600km road trip of a lifetime to chase the lion’s share of $15m and TAB Everest glory with his star sprinter Gytrash.
And he does it with “the pressure off” after Inglis selected the Group 1 winning five-year-old to take its slot at Royal Randwick on October 17.
Gytrash is scheduled to gallop at Morphettville on Saturday then a day later will be on the float with Gordon and Jacqui Richards for the five and a half hour drive to Broken Hill, followed a day later by an eight hour journey to Dubbo then another six hours to Clare Cunningham’s Warwick Farm stables.
Richards said Gytrash is an experienced traveller, they’ll stay with Michael Wayman at Broken Hill and have arranged a Dubbo stopover on Monday night to break the trip up.
“The longest part of the trip is eight hours and when we he was racing back in the autumn we were floating him to Melbourne and that’s an eight hour trip, and back the next day,’’ Richards said.
“He’d get off the float and be bucking his brands off. So I don’t see that as being a big issue.”
Richards was always planning to showcase Gytrash in Sydney this spring but with Inglis stepping in early he can be methodical about the preparation.
Gytrash will likely make his Sydney debut in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on September 5 before contesting either the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m, Randwick September 19) or the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m, Randwick October 3) second-up.
“We’ve set our sights high and now that we have the luxury of having a slot secured through Inglis so early it means we can take our time with him and ensure he’s peaking on one day and one day only, and that’s Everest day,’’ Richards said.
“It takes the pressure off, we were always coming up to race but to know we have the spot and don’t have to worry about it any more is fantastic.”
TAB has Gytrash listed as a $15 chance in pre-nominations betting behind the other two confirmed Everest runners in Nature Strip ($3) and Classique Legend ($9).
He’s been consistently under-rated through his career despite having form around all the major Everest contenders.
In the autumn he emerged as a serious sprinting force downing Redzel, Loving Gaby and Nature Strip in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes, beat Sunlight in the Irwin Stakes in Adelaide and was placed in the Newmarket, William Reid and The Goodwood at Group 1 level.
“It’s not just form around them, he’s beaten them a lot of the time,’’ Richards said.
“Even if he hasn’t won the race they’ve finished behind him. Someone said to me if Gai Waterhouse or Chris Waller had him they’d be all over him.
“I understand that, we’re over here in the backwater in South Australia but it doesn’t mean we can’t get a horse. We’re happy to be underdogs.”
Jason Collett will ride Gytrash in his Sydney campaign, not surprising given the gelding will be stabled with Collett’s partner Clare Cunningham but it’s interesting to note that Richards is quite a fan of the often under-rated hoop.
“I’m a bit of a rap for the jockey so it works out well, Clare’s a very good horsewoman and she’ll look after him and do the right thing. It’s a win-win situation,’’ he said.
“I’d have small bets on races around Australia killing time between races and I always look to the ones he’s riding and he rides very well.
“He’ll get to know the horse and it’s a no brainer, it’s one of my best decisions apart from buying the horse.’’
The Best of the Autumn 2020 - It was a blowout when the Adelaide raider Gytrash beat Everest Hero Redzel and boom 3YO filly Loving Gaby in the Newmarket Hcp. This was Morphettville trainer Gordon Richards first Group 1 win 🐎💨 pic.twitter.com/ChAqtIi5iu
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) April 27, 2020
Inglis Managing Director Mark Webster said Gytrash, a $40,000 Inglis Premier purchase who has won over $1.2m in his 19 starts, is an ideal candidate for the TAB Everest and is thrilled to have secured the horse.
“Gytrash ticks all the boxes, he’s proven at the top level, his on-speed racing pattern is favourable, he’s proven on both dry and wet tracks and in 19 career starts he’s only been out of the top three once,’’ Webster said.
“He really has become a giant killer of racing, you only need to look at the scalps he accrued during his autumn campaign to see that on his day he is at the very least every bit as good as the other leading sprinters around.
“He’s a lightly-raced five-year-old who we believe is the best up-and-coming sprinter in the country and we can’t wait for these next two months as we target the Everest with Gordon Richards and Gytrash’s connections.’’
Richards said to expect to see a slightly tubby Gytrash stride out at Morphettville before his long road trip begins but as far as his early preparation goes he says he’s heading to Sydney in A1 order.
“What he’s done so far is really good, he’s only galloped with what I can gallop him with and he’s handled them quite well,’’ he said.
“He’s a clean winded horse, he doesn’t take a lot. He probably has a bit of a belly on him at the moment but by the time he gets up and racing he’ll be trimmed down pretty well.’’