By Ray Hickson
We’re still 50 weeks out from the next edition of the Everest and trainer Gordon Richards is already well advanced in his planning to have Gytrash back in Sydney in 2021.
It’s been a memorable campaign for the 69-year-old South Australian trainer and his classy sprinter and he’s looking to cap it off with a win in Saturday’s $1m Yes Yes Yes Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Gytrash finished a gallant third behind Classique Legend in the TAB Everest and while naturally a little deflated after the race, with such a huge build up, Richards said it’s been a wonderful experience and one he’s keen to have again.
“We were disappointed, don’t worry about that, it was a long while planning it and to get here,’’ he said.
“You had to be really proud of him. It was a messy sort of race but every horse had its chance to win if it was good enough and to run in the placings was a big feather in his cap.
“I don’t think he’s ever been in a race where he hasn’t put in.
“The big grey horse just blew them away, the race might have been a bit different for a lot of horses if it hadn’t been run with that crazy speed up front.
“We’ve already made some plans for next year. That’s where we are aiming. He’ll go out for a spell after Saturday.
“We will take a similar path, the Lightning Stakes into the Newmarket then it depends whether the heart rules the head and whether we run in the Goodwood or TJ Smith.”
A significant factor in Gytrash’s successful Sydney trip, Richards said, is having the assistance of Warwick Farm trainer Clare Cunningham, whose stable he has been based at, and jockey Jason Collett.
The gelding raced in the TAB Everest under the Inglis slot and the red carpet was rolled out for the connections and the horse from the moment he was selected for their slot.
“It was a good learning curve being there, being associated with Clare Cunningham and Jason Collett, who are great people, helped,’’ Richards said.
“And having not known anyone before this trip we know some really good people now so it’s great. There are lovely people up there, and getting a bit of money helps.
“When we come back it’ll feel like we are going back home.”
Gytrash has already added $1.38m to his prizemoney haul in two Sydney starts - doubling his earnings - through his Concorde Stakes win and third placing in the TAB Everest.
Richards makes no secret of the fact that bonuses attached to the Yes Yes Yes Stakes encouraged him to keep the five-year-old in Sydney in favour of one more run in Melbourne and if he’s able to win it’ll be worth another $1.33m.
Three TAB Everest runners are backing up on Saturday, Eduardo and Haut Brion Her the other pair, and Richards said Gytrash, the $2.90 favourite, continues to thrive.
“I was a bit wary because it was a really tough run, for most horses, and they were entitled to be a bit gutted after it,’’ he said.
Gytrash runs third in the TAB Everest
“But he was that well we could have raced him last Saturday, we had to gallop him the Friday after the Everest because he was so well we had to take the edge off him.”
There’s no concern from Richards over a wet track and he said Gytrash gives him every indication that 1300m won’t be a problem so long as he doesn’t find himself left in front too early.
“In the William Reid he gave Loving Gaby a start on the corner as he wobbled around but he was pulling a lot of ground on the line over 1200m,’’ he said.
“He won at Flemington over 1200m running away from them on a soft 7 so I don’t have any problem with 1300m.
“Even though he likes to be fresh he’s gone 1000m, six weeks into 1200m then a couple of weeks into 1300m so it’s been the ideal build up for it.
“He’s just a good horse, everyone would want one. I’d love three or four of him but sadly it doesn’t work like that.”