The greatest show on turf
The world’s biggest sporting events all have something greater at stake than a mere chance at victory. As we will see again this summer, the battle for the Ashes is about far more than a series of cricket Tests. National pride is on the line — which is why Australians, and not all of them cricket fans, were sweating over the outcome earlier this year of a players’ strike.
A car race is just a car race, but success in the annual Bathurst 1000 can immediately turn little-known drivers into household names. It can do the same even for team owners. Just ask Betty Klimenko, who was big news all week after her car finished first last Sunday.
Few outside the yachting world paid much attention to the America’s Cup — until 1983, when Australia’s historic winning of The Auld Mug became a national obsession.
All of these events earn their significance through the power of tradition and the weight that tradition bestows. Yet all of them began with a first contest — the contest that set in train decades of competition and spectator fascination.
Today at Royal Randwick a new tradition begins with the inaugural running of The Everest. In straightforward terms, The Everest is a race under weightfor-age conditions held over the sprinting distance of 1200m. But there is already something far greater than the sum of its parts about this massive event.
In terms of having more at stake than a mere chance at victory, consider this one standout fact: The Everest is the world’s richest race on turf. That alone should guarantee its place in Australia’s — and the world’s — horse racing pantheon, yet even without the $10 million in prizemoney on offer, the quality of the field also secures The Everest its prestige and aura.
Chautauqua, held by acclaim to be the world’s finest sprinter, will compete against 11 other horses you’d be privileged to watch during a solo training run, much less in the company of similarly elite thoroughbreds.
The field includes Golden Slipper winner and inaugural The Everest favourite She Will Reign, plus Fell Swoop, whose purchase price of $45,000 represents less than 1 per cent of The Everest’s $5.8 million first prize.
It’s going to be big at Royal Randwick today. The biggest ever, in fact. Be there and witness the dawn of a grand new sporting tradition.