By Ray Hickson
As far as The Everest is concerned, Viddora was nobody’s first choice in its inaugural year but trainer Lloyd Kennewell is confident she’ll be in demand in 2018.
Kennewell, who has only had one previous starter in New South Wales, is taking a very focused approach to 2018 with his classy mare and he can very much see The Everest, worth $13 million next October, on the horizon.
“It's a matter of having the right horse and she's probably the right horse to get a slot,’’ he said.
“We have to go through the motions. A lot of the slots are held up by people who want to have their own horses in it so that limits the amount that are left out."
The popular South Australian trainer is adamant Viddora would have been competitive had she gained a run in The Everest, won by Redzel before over 33,000 people at Randwick.
He said he thought Viddora had done enough to earn one of the 12 Everest slots when she finished a luckless second to She Will Reign in the Moir Stakes.
“I think she was entitled to her spot this year if we got one but everyone went off early because it was the first year,’’ Kennewell said.
“We wanted to see how she went in the Moir but from there the door was only ajar for a few spots.
“I think they will probably be getting in touch with us this time. If she's holding her form they'd be mad not to.
“She's probably the best sprinting mare in Australia at the moment.’’
The past 12 months saw the five-year-old mare have a number of close calls at the top level before she finally broke through in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes in Perth.
Despite her easy Group 1 win she’s still only a $51 chance in the TAB’s early market for the 2018 The Everest with defending champ Redzel naturally the $8 favourite.
She’ll have her next start at the Gold Coast on Magic Millions day on January 13 in either the Sprint, in which she was an unlucky second in 2017, or the Mares feature.
Viddora was Kennewell’s first winner at Group 1 level and after the Gold Coast she’ll have the chance to add to that tally in the autumn in her own backyard in races like the Sangster Stakes and The Goodwood.
“We've obviously got to get through the Gold Coast first and then the plan is to stay at home in Adelaide for the autumn,’’ he said.
“She's in a really good zone, she had a really good spring and as long as she's sound she will keep rolling through the races.
“There’s two $1 million races and one of them is for mares. If she gets through those races then we'd look at getting into the Everest.’’
The inaugural Everest was run at Randwick on October 14 and was the highest rated sprint race of 2017.