By Ray Hickson
Kerrin McEvoy had no hesitation in rating Redzel the best sprinter he’s ridden after the Everest champ smashed a track record and broke the $8 million prizemoney mark at Royal Randwick.
It was Redzel at his brilliant best, trailing a hot speed set by Super Too in the Group 2 $500,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m), and when McEvoy asked the five-year-old to chase he oozed class as he swept past to the cheers of his owners.
McEvoy is developing a real rapport with Redzel and while he concedes he’s never been associated with a champion sprinter before he said ‘big Red’ isn’t far off.
“He’s definitely the top of the tree,’’ McEvoy said.
“I haven’t ridden a champion sprinter but this fellow is getting towards that. He’s a genuine top quality sprinter.
“There have been plenty of great sprinters from Australia and of course we all rate them against Black Caviar.’’
A track record for Redzel in the Challenge Stakes at Royal Randwick
Redzel’s prizemoney haul sat just behind the unbeaten Black Caviar ($7,953,936) prior to the Challenge but 55.73 seconds later the gelding had amassed $8,221,750 and counting – and he’s closing on Chautauqua’s $8,821,935.
It was atonement on two fronts for Redzel, he was beaten by English in the Challenge last year while Redkirk Warrior, who won the Newmarket Handicap minutes after Redzel won the Challenge, ran him down in the Lightning Stakes first-up.
McEvoy said Redzel showed on Saturday that he doesn’t have to lead to win his races and that just makes him even harder to beat when it comes to his main goal of the Group 1 $2.5m TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 1 of The Championships.
“It was good to get him back to Randwick, he loves it here and he showed that again today,’’ he said.
“This fella was up to the challenge at the 500m, he was up and ready to go and he has a few strings to his bow.
“The 1000m is probably not his ideal trip in terms of getting into the race and controlling it and dictating to the others, whereas today he was just back behind them but he enjoyed himself and he now goes up in trip to the TJ and that will suit him even better.”
Trainers Peter and Paul Snowden were all smiles, as you’d expect, after Redzel’s 12th win from 23 starts and Paul Snowden declared he’ll be right at his top for the TJ.
Punters Intel data illustrates just how fast Super Too travelled in the early stages as she ran a staggering 9.96 between the 800m and 600m.
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) March 10, 2018
She held on for third while outsider Jungle Edge snatched second place.
Redzel worked into the race gradually with 10.45 from the 400m-200m and his last 200m of 11.25 suggests there’s still improvement to come.
“The horse has come back in really good order. We were really happy with him today so it’s all headed now to the TJ and just getting him there in tip top shape,’’ Snowden said.
“It’s debatable what avenue we will go. We could trial him again in the lead up or another run in between, we will make that decision by what is best for the horse in the best possible way to get him there.”
Of course, Redzel’s primary goal for 2018 is to defend his crown in The Everest on October 13 when the world’s richest race on turf is run for $13 million.