THE LONE RAIDER
Neil Evans on the Everest contenders
TOUGH as teak Irish-bred five-yearold Limato – owned by 71-year-old lifelong Plymouth Argyle fan Paul Jacobs looms as the only international raider contesting the $10 million “buy in” Everest sprint showdown at Randwick on October 14.
Jacobs, who carved his success as a partner in a London law firm, is
hardened traveller, ever since his parents moved to Kenya for work on the railways in 1951 where they were forced supplement a modest income by working part-time at a local racetrack, and Jacobs’ love of horses began as a five-year-old.
It was 38 years later before he bought into his first stable operation at Newmarket, and the rest is history.
Of course, the colours of Limato are that dark green and black of his beloved Plymouth Argyle, a 131-year-old club based at Devon now playing in UK football’s third tier.
Jacobs is proud of what he calls bulletproof patience and has no hesitation in testing the next frontier anywhere in world with his prized sprinter, and Sydney Spring is gaining momentum.
Under wily trainer Henry Candy, Limato has taken the next step this prep finishing close up in Group 1s behind The Tin Man at Royal Ascot, Harry Angel at Newmarket and just recently Breton Rock in a Group 2 at Goodwood over 1400m.
But it’s also another horse’s setback that could trigger Limato’s Randwick raid.
After a sluggish flop as hot favourite in the Group 1 at Deauville and subsequently pulling up sore, the higher-rated Caravaggio is now almost certain to miss The Everest despite Coolmore trainer Aidan O’Brien putting most of the blame on himself claiming back-up from Newmarket was too soon.
Raced sparingly since debuting 16 months ago, the three-year-old powerhouse son of Scat Daddy won his first six in dominant fashion, but cracks appeared when the consistent stablemate Harry Angel – who is being set for UK sprints rather than The Everest – easily turned the tables on Caravaggio at Newmarket four weeks back before the worst run of his career last Sunday beaten 4.5 lens by Brando.
UK sources have told me Caravaggio’s Everest bid is virtually “off the table”.
Closer to home, the biggest query is whether brilliant Melbourne fiveyear-old Ability – who swamped Lankan Rupee to win Sunday’s Group 3 Bletchingly at Sandown – can attract a spot.
Certainly not according to trainer Robert Smerdon who I spoke to yesterday.
“We don’t have a slot and no-one’s come knocking, at this stage he’ll be staying here. I’m intrigued (by the concept) because there are so many variables to come,” Smerdon said.
I also believe the David HayesTom Dabernig team will opt for Group 1 Goodwood winner Vega Magic, the lightly-raced former WA star who is still on the rise, and could emerge this Spring – with greater maturity – as one of the best sprinters in the Southern Hemisphere.
The other runner I’m prepared to back early is Spieth, he will be primed to make up for so many close Group 1 disappointments by conquering the tallest thoroughbred mountain.
And don’t be surprised if ageing and one time top global-rated sprinter Lankan Rupee is lured into a slot late.
He looked tremendous in his first run back for nine months, and he might just be the promotional piece of the puzzle Racing NSW needs closer to jump.
My predicted Everest field and long-range market assessment with obvious lead-up races (The Shorts) and starting confirmations to come: $5.50 CHAUTAUQUA $6.00 SPIETH $6.25 VEGA MAGIC $8.00 SHE WILL REIGN $9.00 LE ROMAIN
ENGLISH $14.00 REDZEL $15.00 LIMATO $16.00 LANKAN RUPEE $16.00 RUSSIAN REVOLUTION $26.00 HOUTZEN $41.00 FELL SWOOP
ROSEHILL tomorrow kicks off the first leg of what I call the “Rose Garden March” for 3YO’s with
Listed Rosebud (1100m) and unbeaten power colt Siege Of Quebec ($3.10 into $2.90 betting.club) was on track early to go in as favourite.
That said, I’m a big fan of the Snitzel colt Menari ($2.70 out to $3.00) fresh and this looks a lovely platform into the Spring.
My ROSEBUD Tips: 1. MENARI; 2. Siege Of Quebec; 3. Trekking
Elsewhere on a big nine-race card, Wyong mare Hetty Heights ($10.00 betting.club) – despite a hefty weight increase can claim the slightly weaker Benchmark 80 Race 8 fourth-up; while a big watch on resuming stayer Tom Melbourne ($5.00 into $4.60 early), with the significant booking of Blake Shinn aboard & in a very suitable Race 7 1400m Hcp.
UK sprinter Limato is expected to be the lone inter national runner in the $10m Everest in September