Tips by Brad Gray Brad Gray profiles all 12 of the TAB Everest contenders ahead of the $10m sprint feature on Saturday at Royal Randwick. 1. Chautauqua – Greg Ingham Age: 7 Breeding: Encosta De Lago x Lovely Jubly Trainer: Team Hawkes Jockey: Brenton Avdulla Record: 30:13-7-4 Prizemoney: $8,376,935 The Grey Flash is one of the world’s most feared sprinters due to his freakish ability to sustain his sprint. His racing pattern always makes him vulnerable – there is nothing more certain in the race than he’ll settle last – but given the right circumstances, he can finish right over the top of his rivals. Although he has finished seventh and sixth in his two lead up runs that alone doesn’t tell the story as the evergreen sprinter was charging through the line. If the pace is hot up front… look out. Boom! Chautauqua’s third TJ win – wow! 2. Vega Magic – Max Whitby Age: 5 Breeding: Lope De Vega (IRE) x Admirable Trainer: Hayes, Hayes & Dabernig Jockey: Craig Williams Record: 17:12-2-1 Prizemoney: $2,034,050 This former Western Australian is undefeated in three outings since being transferred to Lindsay Park – winning the G1 Goodwood, Listed Regal Roller and G1 Memsie. His racing pattern is to head forward so Craig Williams will need to produce something special to find cover from barrier 10 with the likes of Houtzen, Redzel and Deploy all drawn to his inside. His track gallops at Randwick this week have made him the street corner tip. Imposing animal with an imposing record.
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3. Redzel – James Harron Age: 5 Breeding: Snitzel x Millrich Trainer: Peter and Paul Snowden Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy Record: 19:9-4-1 Prizemoney: $1,395,250 In his last seven outings, Redzel hasn’t finished further back than second. Those two defeats were by 0.1L in the G2 Challenge Stakes behind Russian Revolution and 0.2L to English in the G1 Galaxy! This five-year-old, who seems to have been around for a lot longer, is near the perfect race horse. He makes his own luck on the pace, can run time and is tough. He won’t throw in the towel if headed. What’s more, he is trained by arguably the best ‘grand final’ trainers in the business. He has broken 33s his last 600m in both wins this preparation. That makes him hard to beat in anything. Redzel dominating The Shorts 4. Redkirk Warrior (GB) – The Star Age: 7 Breeding: Notnowcato (GB) X Flag (GB) Trainer: Hayes, Hayes & Dabernig Jockey: Regan Bayliss Record: 13:6-2-0 Prizemoney: $1,384,029 The Hayes stable have been very bullish about Redkirk Warrior for a long time now, ranking him their top seed. The yard have made no secret of the fact they’d have loved to tackle the TAB Everest fresh but needed to run him in the Bobbie Lewis to put him in the shop window. It was enough for The Star to snap him up, having arranged the deal to lock in the stable instead of a particular horse. His two past runs in Sydney were forgettable due to wet tracks. Should get a sweet run from the draw but needs to bring his brilliant Flemington straight form to Randwick.
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5. Clearly Innocent – Damion Flower Age: 6 Breeding: Not A Single Doubt x No Penalty Trainer: Kris Lees Jockey: Hugh Bowman Record: 17:9-1-2 Prizemoney: $1,238,600 All 12 contenders have trekked their own paths to The Everest but what about that of Cleary Innocent’s via the 2016 Country Championships! This lightly six-year-old just keeps on getting better. He was devastating in the Kingsford Smith Stakes at Eagle Farm over the winter before the barrier cost him victory in the Stradbroke. Shouldn’t have the same excuse here from barrier 6 and with Hugh Bowman steering. His Premiere Stakes return was very good and he historically bounces off his first up runs. Genuine knockout hope. Cleary Innocent’s first up third in the Premiere 6. Deploy – Chris Waller Racing Age: 5 Breeding: Fastnet Rock x Crimson Reign Trainer: Gerald Ryan Jockey: Josh Parr Record: 16:8-5-1 Prizemoney: $597,985 This son of Fastnet Rock has been the real bolter to claim a spot, gaining it on the back of two track records. It’s a fair lead in. No horse has EVER run faster time over 1200m at Randwick! The track was racing slick that day but it’s there in the racebook now. Deploy has won seven from nine since being gelded. He bolted in last start, beating the likes of Egg Tart and Dixie Blossoms. Tactics are critical with Houtzen kicking up from the inside and Redzel likely keen to hold him out. His recent trial was nothing flash but he didn’t have the shades on. Deploy’s breathtaking Theo Marks win 7. Fell Swoop – Inglis Age: 6 Breeding: Not A Single Doubt x Touched In Flight Trainer: Matthew Dale Jockey: Tye Angland Record: 25:9-4-3 Prizemoney: $1,621,670 The rank outsider in the field at $61 with TAB Fixed Odds. His form this time in isn’t very inspiring in the context of being a genuine winning hope but he has only been beaten 2.1L and 3.3L in two key lead up races. What’s more, his third up form throughout his career has typically been his best and resulted in two G1 TJ Smith placings and a half-length defeat in the G1 Darley Classic. The TJ Smith third last year came on the back of two indifferent lead up runs too. Is he up to winning this? Unlikely. However, don’t be surprised if he runs a much better race than his odds suggest. The last time Fell Swoop tackled Randwick 1200m third up… 8. Brave Smash (JPN) – ATC Age: 5 Breeding: Tosen Phantom (JPN) x Tosen Smash (JPN) Trainer: Darren Weir Jockey: Jamie Spencer Record: 16:3-6-1 Prizemoney: $923,373 Darren Weir is a magician but he’ll need all of his powers to conjure up something for Brave Smash. The Japanese import burst onto the scene with a fast finishing second to Vega Magic on his Australian debut, albeit receiving a 6.5kg swing, before his form tapered off at his next two outings. He was ridden ugly to win second up before momentum proved costly at Caulfield. Weir has been adamant that Brave Smash, since arriving from the Land Of The Rising Sun, has been a ‘blinker horse’ and gets the shades on here. Would be getting near 10kg off top rater Chautauqua under handicap conditions.
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9. English – Tabcorp Age: 5 Breeding: Encosta De Lago x Court Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Jockey: Blake Shinn Record: 19:5-2-1 Prizemoney: $2,659,700 There is a real sense of timing about English. She covered ground first up in The Shorts before motoring to the line in the Premiere running a superior last 600m split to that of Chautauqua. That is no mean feat. She looked to peak on her run 50m out so will be cherry ripe come Saturday. The worry is the barrier. She looks to have fared the worst after the draw as it gives Blake Shinn no alternative other than to snag back to near last. That’s not to say she can’t win but it’d would’ve enhanced her chances greatly if she could have pinched a couple of lengths head start on Chautauqua if the race sets up for backmarkers. English ran on hard in the Premiere 10. She Will Reign – Yulong Age: 3 Breeding: Manhattan Rain x Courgette Trainer: Gary Portelli Jockey: Corey Brown Record: 6:5-1-0 Prizemoney: $2,859,150 There is always a big question mark on the heads of guns two-year-olds when they return at three. And especially fillies. However, ‘Daisy’ as she is known around the stable, produced an outstanding effort to win the Moir first up at Moonee Valley from a seemingly impossible position turning for home. As brilliant as she was, this field is another level again. Is she up to it? Potentially. Is she a deserved $4.80 favourite? Not in my opinion. Gets into the race with the featherweight of 51kg which is the appeal of taking on the seasoned older sprinters. She Will Reign’s Golden Slipper triumph 11. Houtzen – Aquis Age: 3 Breeding: I Am Invincible Trainer: Toby Edmonds Jockey: Jeff Lloyd Record: 7:5-0-1 Prizemoney: $1,559,600 Her win at Moonee Valley was much better than it looked upon first viewing. She ran good time on the night and Jeff Lloyd was very kind to her over the final stages. First up she was trapped deep and boxed on okay after being entitled to drop out further than she did. There is a whisper that the camp would consider taking a sit but surely that’s a bluff?! Would expect Houtzen to punch up to lead up the inaugural edition of the sprint feature. Her best hope would be humming along trying to pinch it but even then it would take an inch perfect steer.
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12. Tulip – Coolmore Age: 3 Breeding: Pierro x Musidora Trainer: Hayes, Hayes & Dabernig Jockey: Tim Clark Record: 8:2-2-1 Prizemoney: $593,875 The last contender on the page and the last into the field. Hopefully that trend doesn’t continue! Had high hopes for this filly over the spring and although she has failed to deliver she has been left with genuine excuses. First up she was jagged back and overraced before just missing then found herself cluttered up in the Tea Rose. Didn’t look to appreciate 1400m either. Off a freshen and back to the sprint trip suits. It’s an open race but it’s hard to make much of a case for her. Tulip’s Tea Rose effort when fourth SUMMARY AND TIPS It's a cliche but Redzel is the 'box ticker' of The Everest field. He'll be in the first three, is right at the top of his game, knows how to win, McEvoy steers, Snowden trains... the list goes on. If there is an ever so slight query it's him at 1200m. Would be very surprised if he doesn't finish somewhere in the money. Deploy is airborne and strikes this race at exactly the right time. He can high-ball if Houtzen rolls along. Don't underestimate him. Chautauqua will be tearing up ground late while Clearly Innocent is the one with the most improvement to come. What a race... Redzel Deploy Chautauqua Clearly Innocent Check out the fields, form and replays for Everest Day at Royal Randwick