Sydney on track for our biggest ever racing extravaganza
THE world’s best sprinter will be crowned today in front a record crowd of 40,000 raucous fans in Sydney.
People will move mountains to get to Randwick for the momentous Everest — the richest turf race in the world. Three horses — Chautauqua, “Cinderella” filly She Will Reign and mystery Melbourne raider Vega Magic — are equal favourites for the race in which they will fight it out for a share of the $10 million prizemoney.
It’s aiming to be the peak of the spring carnival and when the gates shoot open at The TAB Everest today there will 12 champion horses straining every sinew to scale the heights. They will be cheered on by an exuberant crowd of up to 40,000 people and though every horse will be confident of snaring a share of the $10 million race, three stand head and shoulders above the others. Reigning champion Chautauqua, “Cinderella” filly She Will Reign and mystery Melbourne raider Vega Magic are equal favourites with the bookies at $5— a highly unusual situation in such a big race.
But The Everest is unlike anything Sydney has witnessed before. The inaugural running of the world’s richest turf race has become an event that has already transcended the sport — with the expected bumper crowd likely to be biggest for a Sydney race meeting this century.
“The Everest has surprised me how it has captured everyone’s imagination, I call this race a juggernaut and it will only get bigger in the years to come,’’ Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said.
However, for The Everest to justify its huge stakes — the $10 million prizemoney pool is nearly double the nation’s next richest race, the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup — the race needed to have a quality field.
The 12 sprinters who have been selected to run in The Everest are the best Australian racing has to offer and they will be competing for the unofficial title of world’s best sprinter.
Chautauqua has held that crown for the past two years but after two unplaced runs this spring, his dominance is being questioned.
She Will Reign cost only $20,000 but as a yearling she has won the world’s richest juvenile race and now is equal favourite for the world’s richest turf race. The filly won the Golden Slipper earlier this year and has already amassed more than $2.85 million prizemoney.
If she can pull off another fairytale win in The Everest, her syndicate of 20 owners will share in another $5.8 million. She Will Reign’s owners are ordinary everyday Australians — there’s the salesman, builder, five old footy teammates, the unemployed housewife, carpenter, three coalminers, podiatrist, teacher, landscaper, hospital worker, truck driver, ice cream factory worker, family carer and a retiree.
Corey Brown is the jockey charged with leading her to glory — and he will be cheered home by his wife Kylie and three daughters. Yesterday he still had 1kg to lose before saddling up — and he said his girls weren’t helping: “The family makes a lot of sacrifices with my racing, but the only sacrifice that they don’t make is dinner time.”
The family will be watching the big race from home, with
daughter Charlie, admitting they get too nervous to be trackside. “We are usually sitting eating our cheese plate until the last few 100m when Mum gets up and punches the screen, because she is jumping around so much. The neighbours must think we are crazy,” she said.
It is not just the big name trainers and owners who will be on the edges of their seats today. Ten lucky winners of a competition on the TAB betting app stand to each win $100,000 if the Gai Waterhouse-trained English romps home today.
Waterhouse also has a new fan in Jason Derulo — who has been gifted a horse by the superstar trainer. Derulo, who will be performing live at Randwick, said he was planning on calling his horse Tip Toe. But he isn’t backing Waterhouse in the big race — Derulo’s money’s on Chautauqua.
Trainer David Hayes and track rider Ryan Roberts with Vega Magic, a favourite for today’s Everest. Picture: Rohan Kelly
She Will Reign jockey Corey Brown with his daughter Charlie. Picture: Toby Zerna
Holly Arabella and Jade Burton are ontrend for the Everest today at Royal Randwick. Picture: Sam Ruttyn