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Manikato Clone Chases Everest Slot

By Brad Gray

David Hayes expects Vega Magic to put himself in the front of The Everest shop window come Saturday’s Group One Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville.

“Everyone has forgotten a little bit about Vega - they haven’t seen him for a while but I’m sure if he raced in the autumn he would’ve been hard to beat,” Hayes told Sky Sports Radio.

The two-time Group One winner, one of which included last year’s Goodwood, missed the autumn due to a paddock accident which required stitches. Prior to that, the five-year-old was in brilliant form which saw him run a luckless second in the inaugural running of The Everest and Hayes revealed that Vega Magic’s owner Wally Daly had already touched base with a number of slot holders.

“The owner of Vega has been talking to some of the slot holders and I would say he would be a good horse to get, like last year,” Hayes said.

With 12 wins from 20 starts, Vega Magic, originally from Western Australia, is a horse that Hayes has a huge opinion of. And rightly so.

“I keep seeing footage of the late Manikato and his racing pattern is very much like him and he’s that type of horse – a big brute of a horse that’s very strong and his record is quite imposing as well,” Hayes said.

“He doesn’t run badly very often.”

Hayes is bullish that he has Vega Magic primed for Saturday’s assignment, finding no reason why he won’t claim back-to-back Goodwoods.

“I’m very happy with how he has progressed through the preparation. He’ll run very, very well,” he said.

“We have just changed his environment like we did last year going into the race, we got him out to the country and he has tightened up nicely.”

Viddora is another Everest aspirant lining up on Saturday and a victory over Vega Magic would go a long way in assuring the Lloyd Kennewell-trained mare a shot at the $13m feature come October.


Redzel holding off Vega Magic in last year's Everest

Vega Magic is $15 for The Everest with TAB Fixed Odds while Viddora is priced at $35.

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