10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

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Ris­ing out of the sport­ing land­scape with sud­den­ness that had ev­ery­one looking up, The Ever­est will be in­au­gu­rated on Oc­to­ber 14 at Royal Rand­wick. The tagline is sim­ple, and al­lur­ing: this will be the rich­est turf race in the world.

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The prize pool for the race is a cool $10m, with first place net­ting $5.8m. How the or­gan­is­ers at Rac­ing NSW and the Aus­tralian Turf Club put this to­gether – the money isn’t put up by the rac­ing in­dus­try, but in­stead comes pri­mar­ily from 12 share­hold­ers, who pur­chased a spot in the race for $600,000. That start in The Ever­est then be­comes an as­set – the share­holder can race their horse, but also lease, con­tract or sell the spot to an­other party. They also share in rev­enue gen­er­ated by the race.

3 The Ever­est rep­re­sents a bold grab for greater main­stream at­ten­tion from sports fans, a point that has mo­ti­vated the rac­ing in­dus­try in re­cent times. On the heels of the NRL grand fi­nal, the race has not only been po­si­tioned as a show­piece hit-out, but an hon­est-to-good­ness event. “I have never seen anything like the pub­lic­ity this race has gen­er­ated al­ready,’’ Rac­ing NSW’s Peter V’landys told The Races mag­a­zine. “Syd­ney’s Spring Car­ni­val now has a real pres­ence on the in­ter­na­tional stage.’’

4 Held over 1200m un­der weight-for­age, this is a race for the sprint­ers. While the money has at­tracted plenty of in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est, the dis­tance will show­case the lo­cal qual­ity over shorter dis­tances, in­clud­ing the favourite and world top-ranked sprinter, Chau­tauqua (pic­tured right with Tommy Berry aboard).

5 One bit of spec­u­la­tion was quickly shot down. The most fa­mous horse in the land, Winx (be­low), will not take a shot at scal­ing The Ever­est. Even though trainer Chris Waller owns a spot in the field, Winx will be fo­cused on an­other run in the Cox Plate this spring, only two weeks af­ter The Ever­est.

6 Crit­i­cism of the race ze­roed in on the elit­ist na­ture of the con­cept – would the best thor­ough­breds be in­volved, or merely the horses that could be best paid for? Would in­vestors be will­ing to com­mit to the new ven­ture be­yond the first year? The crit­ics re­ceived an early re­buke, as the dozen slots in the race were sold out within two months.

7 In ad­di­tion to Chau­tauqua, the three-time TJ Smith win­ner, other con­tenders in­clude Ir­ish colt Car­avag­gio, win­ner of the Com­mon­wealth Cup at Royal As­cot; Magic Mil­lions win­ner Houtzen, the Gai Water­house­trained English; and the feel-good story of the Golden Slip­per, She Will Reign.

8 In­deed, if She Will Reign wins The Ever­est, it will be an ef­fec­tive coun­ter­point to the elit­ist cri­tique. In a clas­sic rac­ing fairy-tale, the filly was bought as a year­ling for $20,000 by a syn­di­cate of first-time own­ers. She will race at The Ever­est in the slot be­long­ing to Yu Long In­vest­ments, which had tried to pur­chase She Will Reign; a vic­tory at Royal Rand­wick will earn her own­ers more money than what they saw from vic­tory in the Slip­per.

9 Then there’s the race oc­cur­ring off the turf – that be­tween the car­ni­vals of Syd­ney and Mel­bourne. The lat­ter has long owned this por­tion of the cal­en­dar, hang­ing off the iconic sta­tus of the Mel­bourne Cup. The famed race offers a prize pool of $6.2m, and it wasn’t lost on any­one that The Ever­est looked like a shot across Mel­bourne’s bow. A re­sponse is surely com­ing, but V’landy’s is quick to note that The Ever­est won’t be stand­ing still ei­ther: “The aim is to get to $20m prize­money.”

10 The Ever­est con­cept has in­trigu­ing po­ten­tial for other sports, par­tic­u­larly when con­sid­er­ing how quickly it has launched. AFL.com re­ported that the league con­sid­ered such a model for its short­form AFLX com­pe­ti­tion, with clubs con­tribut­ing to the pot.

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