THE LONE RAIDER

Neil Evans on the Ever­est con­tenders

The Sportsman Weekend - - Front Page - with Neil Evans Fol­low me on Twit­ter @NeilE­van­sMail

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

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