The Starting Gate By Ray Hickson
Final 12 confirmed
After months of jockeying and speculation, Clearly Innocent and Tulip have completed the field for the $10 million The Everest (1200m) run at Randwick on October 14.
Damion Flower elected to go with Group 1 Kingsford Smith Stakes winner Clearly Innocent after his eye-catching third in the Premiere Stakes on Saturday while Coolmore surprised a few by confirming their filly Tulip will run in its slot.
Flower said on Sky Sports Radio, prior to announcing his decision, he was deliberating between three horses, including Premiere Stakes winner In Her Time.
“I was always hoping to get one of my horses in there, that’s the plan for the second and third years,’’ Flower said.
It’s probably not a surprise that Flower picked Clearly Innocent over In Her Time as the former did look a little unlucky and is a noted second-up performner.
The 12 runners, including seven Group 1 winners, in the inaugural Everest are:
Chautauqua (GPI Racing) – Brenton Avdulla English (TAB) – Blake Shinn Fell Swoop (Inglis) – Tye Angland She Will Reign (Yu Long) – Corey Brown Houtzen (Aquis) – Jeff Lloyd Brave Smash (ATC) – TBC Clearly Innocent (Damion Flower) – Hugh Bowman Vega Magic (Max Whitby) – Craig Williams Redkirk Warrior (The Star) – Regan Bayliss Tulip (Coolmore) – TBC Redzel (James Harron) – Kerrin McEvoy Deploy (Chris Waller) – (Josh Parr?)
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) September 30, 2017
Everest hopes trial
Deploy and Redzel headline the opening 900m barrier trial at Rosehill on Tuesday but Deploy’s trainer Gerald Ryan said it’ll basically be a track gallop for his Everest contender.
The gelding hasn’t raced since his back-to-back track record breaking wins in the Show County, over the Everest course at Randwick, and Theo Marks Stakes at Rosehill.
“He’s been ticking over. I’m doing nothing different with him that I wouldn’t have done if he was going that far between runs,’’ Ryan said.
“It’s going to be a nice hit out and he won’t have blinkers on.’’
Ryan revealed that slot holder, and fellow Rosehill trainer, Chris Waller first raised the possibility of securing Deploy for the Everest after the Show County.
He’s a big supporter of The Everest and rapt to have a runner in the inaugural event.
“I didn’t think (Deploy) would be in it until he won at Randwick, Chris spoke to us on the Monday morning and I didn’t think much of it,’’ he said.
“After he won at Rosehill (Theo Marks) we cranked it up a bit.
“It’s a great concept, I don’t care what anyone says. You have the winner of the Newmarket, the 10,000, the Kingsford Smith Cup, the Memsie, Chautuaqua, the Golden Slipper winner.
“You don’t get that many Group 1 winners in a Caulfield Cup.’’
Frolic downs She Will Reign in the Reisling Stakes in March
Slow and steady with Frolic
Frolic, the only horse to beat She Will Reign, is back in work with new trainer Edward O’Rourke but she won’t race until next year.
The filly, who beat current Everest favourite She Will Reign in the Reisling Stakes before the placings were reversed in the Slipper, has recovered from knee surgery that kept her out of the spring.
O’Rourke took over the training when Michael Freedman moved to Hong Kong and he said he’s pleased with what he’s seen so far but is taking things slowly.
“The aim is to just get her up to a trial this prep, more as a rehabilitation preparation to have some fitness up for the autumn,’’ he said.
One time Magic Millions favourite From Within is also in O’Rourke’s care and she returns to the stable on Wednesday.
From Within won one of four starts for Chris Waller and hasn’t raced since finishing fourth in the Kindergarten Stakes on April 1.
“Her aim is to have two races in December and hopefully get her back on track,’’ O’Rourke said.
“We then have the option of the Magic Millions or put her away for a big autumn.’’
Trainer John O’Shea has new recruit Kaepernick on trial for the Everest consolation when he resumes at Warwick Farm on Monday.
The talented six-year-old will carry 61kg in the 12 Days To The Everest Handicap (1000m) having contested Group 1 races at his last two starts.
“I’ve only had him a short time and I’m keeping him happy and pointing him in the right direction,’’ O’Shea said.
“To be fair to the horse he has a wonderful form line. Even though he has a bunch of weight on Monday form around Vega Magic looks pretty good.’’
Kaepernick finished ninth in the Group 1 Goodwood, three lengths from Vega Magic, and ran 10th in the Stradbroke before joining O’Shea.
He’s had two trials and O’Shea said a win would see him contest the $500,000 City Tattersall’s Lightning (1200m), the Everest consolation, on October 14.
“We’re trying to get him on the board, I want to bring him here and run him in the Lightning,’’ he said.
Horse to follow
Fiesta (Randwick) – hard to miss her outstanding debut in the Gimcrack Stakes, finishing a closing third. She was badly held up inside the winner and lost her running at a vital stage. Definitely should have been challenging for the major prize. Punter’s Intel data showed she ran the fastest last 600m of the race in 33.53.