Syd­ney on track for our big­gest ever rac­ing ex­trav­a­ganza

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Front Page -

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

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