By Ray Hickson
Trapeze Artist is the first horse to secure a place in the 2018 The Everest after owner Bert Vieira confirmed the colt will run in the slot owned by Aquis.
Vieira said he’d been in discussion with Aquis chief executive Shane McGrath for a couple of weeks and the deal was confirmed on Monday night to contest the $13 million race at Royal Randwick on October 13.
The deal does not include rights to stand Trapeze Artist at stud when his racing career is over and Vieira said he’s knocked back offers valuing the colt at $40 million to race on.
“It’s a once of a lifetime opportunity, I don’t think I’ll get another horse like this,’’ he said.
“I don’t know how good he is and now we get the upside of racing the horse in the Everest and overseas.
“I don’t want to have any regrets, I don’t want to wonder.’’
Aquis was represented in the inaugural The Everest by Queensland filly Houtzen, who finished seventh behind Redzel.
Vieira bought Trapeze Artist’s dam for $190,000 but when the colt was offered at auction he didn’t reach the $350,000 he wanted so he kept the horse.
Since then the colt has won over $3 million in prizemoney and chasing the lion’s share of the $13 million pool for the Everest. Not to mention he’s still worth tens of millions when he goes to stud.
Trapeze Artist firmed from $8 into $5 with TAB for The Everest on the news that he will race on as a four-year-old. Defending champion Redzel is the $4.60 favourite.
It was the Gerald Ryan-trained colt’s stunning win over Redzel in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 1 of The Championships that started Vieira on the path to climing Everest.
“Gerald kept telling me after I twisted his arm to go to the TJ he’d be a great Everest horse,’’ he said.
“I think beating Redzel helped, if he’d been beaten I might have had a different thought.
“He showed me he wants to race and that he’s not ready to get to the barn. I think the horse is begging to keep going, every time I think of retiring him he wins a Group 1.’’
Trapeze Artist's Everest rehearsal beating Redzel in the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick
Trapeze Artist could well head into the spring as the nation’s champion sprinter and champion three-year-old after his three Group 1 wins this season – the Golden Rose, TJ Smith and last Saturday’s All Aged Stakes.
Vieira said plans beyond the Everest will include a trip to Hong Kong, assuming quarantine matters are sorted out, and Royal Ascot next year.
“Australia would love to see him race and the world would love to see him,’’ he said.
“It’s massive. I’m still on such a high from the last two months. I’ve hardly slept but I can get some sleep later.
“Thanks to Aquis and Shane McGrath for allowing me to use their slot.’’