By Ray Hickson
Everest slot owner Greg Ingham says he’s astounded at the public response to what miRunners has done with his slot and hopes the initiative can introduce more people to racing.
Ingham’s GPI Racing sold its slot for 2020 after being won over by the idea to break the slot down into 1000 units and offer punters the chance to buy a piece and get involved in Australia’s richest race.
As at Friday miRunners had received over 1500 expressions of interest in the miEverest slot with just under half of that number groups of up to 10 so there’s the potential for over 5000 people to be riding on the back of a runner in the 2020 TAB Everest.
Ingham said the eagerness of people to be involved proves that the Everest is a race for everybody and vindicates the decision to turn down larger offers and support something that is good for the sport.
“When we agreed to do this with miRunners within 48 hours we got two more, substantially larger, offers,’’ Ingham said.
“But we turned them down because we thought we wanted to go with this. We just thought this thing was a great idea, we need to bring more people back into racing.
“What I hated was reading all that stuff about The Everest being elitist and this blows that out of the water.
“We need to get people interested and bring new people into the game, this is a way to do it.”
Back in 2017 Ingham was one of 12 to outlay $1.8 million ($600,000 a year) for a three year commitment to The Everest and is more than happy to stay involved as the concept evolves.
Sure at the time he had the world’s best sprinter Chatuauqua but he says he’s been around racing long enough to understand there are no certainties.
Chautauqua contested the inaugural running and finished fourth but he’d only have one more start before developing an aversion to jumping from the stalls and was retired just before the second Everest was run.
“We thought we’d have him for a few years but things happen in racing and it didn’t work out that way,’’ Ingham said.
“When we read the fine print of the Everest originally we realised you could do anything with it once you owned it. That made me jump in.
“I was keen to get it anyway but the fact we could trade it or do what we wanted with it was a good option especially when you’re outlaying that kind of money.
“The dream for us would still be to have our own runner in the race and to win it. I think Chautauqua was pretty unlucky in the first year and the way he raced he always has his fair share of bad luck.
“Hopefully I can get a sprinter good enough who comes from the front.”
MiRunners CEO Steve Brown said despite the overwhelming demand there’s still an opportunity for anyone who hasn’t yet registered their intent before the 1000 units are offered to those who have expressed interest.
Slot units will be offered for public sale from 12pm on Monday (25 May) if any are available once those who have already registered take up or decline their $880 share.
"Not knowing quite how the racing public would respond, the miEverest team are delighted to report pre-registrations for the miEverest slot are already well over the 1000-unit capacity level,’’ Brown said.
In 2020, miEverest is your Everest.
In a once in a lifetime opportunity, shares in the 2020 miEverest slot will be offered in 1000 units for sale to everyday Australians.
— miEverest (@miEverest) May 18, 2020
"The majority of unit registrations are by teams, which aligns ideally with the spirit of miEverest.
“Race day attendance or not, we suspect there will be a brand new engagement dynamic in this year's race and a new type of Everest party around the country.’’
The dilemma now for Ingham is whether to take up an offer to retain one of the 1000 units.
He said there’s a group of family and friends who’d still like to be involved and join with the punters who bought into the concept.
“I feel really bad if we take one some people are going to miss out so I don’t know whether I’d feel right about it,’’ he said.
Pre-registration for slot units is available via mieverest.com.au.