10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
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.
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.