By Ray Hickson
Trainer Gordon Richards is waiting on interest from TAB Everest slot holders to determine where his star sprinter Gytrash will race in the spring.
As it stands, five months out from Australia’s richest race, only Nature Strip has been locked in as a runner and Richards said he wouldn’t be afraid to send Gytrash to Sydney to press his claims if it’s decided that’s what the gelding’s owners want.
He admits the lack of interest to date is reducing the appeal of the Everest as he plans for the spring despite proving himself one of the top sprinters in the land this season.
“He'd have to be at least in the 12 best,’’ Richards said.
“Most slot holders have their own horses, Inglis has a slot and you’d have to think if they were going to put one of their own product in there he’d be right up there for that.
“He’s such a genuine horse and he’s not hard to train because he’s so clean winded.
“I’m sure if we decided to take him up to Sydney for sprint races in the spring he’d acquit himself well because he’s just that type of horse.’’
Richards has sent Gytrash for a spell following his gallant second to Trekking, who was third in last year’s Everest, in the Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide.
That followed an easy win over Sunlight and an autumn which saw him win the Group 1 Lightning Stakes and place in the Newmarket and William Reid.
“Trekking is a good horse but with our bloke, if you want to nitpick, our plan was to sit one out one back and it would have worked out that way if Jungle Edge kicked up and taken his normal spot,’’ he said.
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“Nothing worked out how we planned, we hit the front a fraction early and to get run down he was very brave.’’
Gytrash already has the scalp of Everest favourite Nature Strip from the Lightning and Richards said he expects his charge to be even better as a five-year-old.
He’s a $15 chance in TAB’s Everest market with Nature Strip at $4.
“(Nature Strip’s) day isn’t every day whereas my bloke, while he can get beaten, he comes to the races every start,’’ he said.
“At the start of the autumn they were spruiking the three-year-olds - Exceedance, Bivouac and Loving Gaby - okay he got beaten by two of them but he also beat them so I don’t think they are better than him.
“The same thing will happen this spring, there will be three-year-olds they’ll give a rap to but his honesty, his consistency, basically is what takes him up there pretty high.
“You can see there’s improvement in him. He’s had a long campaign but he walked off the track on Saturday like he turned up for his first trial. He was so full of himself he thinks he’s won it.’’
The 2020 TAB Everest is scheduled to be run at Royal Randwick on Saturday October 17.