All guns blaz­ing as trainer De­ploys his best chance

To­day’s $10 mil­lion Ever­est race is a boon for the sport of kings

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - EDITORIAL P23 SPORT P39-41 BREN­DAN CORMICK

Life is full-on for the Tighe clan.

Con­sid­ered rac­ing roy­alty as part-own­ers of Winx un­der the Magic Blood­stock ban­ner, Peter Tighe and wife Patty have braced for a hec­tic 24 hours even though the great mare will be home in her box to­day.

Son James Tighe cel­e­brated his 21st birth­day in Bris­bane last night and this morn­ing they will scram­ble to the air­port to fly to Syd­ney for The Ever­est, Aus­tralia’s rich­est horse race at Rand­wick.

The Tighes don’t have a horse in to­day’s $10 mil­lion su­per race but have jumped on the De­ploy band­wagon with Winx’s trainer Chris Waller.

To help cover the huge prize­money, Rac­ing NSW charged $600,000 for each of the 12 slots in the race. Chris Waller Rac­ing paid up, but with­out a horse in its sta­ble to put up for The Ever­est, Waller chose De­ploy for its slot — and with good rea­sons.

De­ploy, which is trained un­der Waller’s nose each morn­ing by Gerald Ryan at Rose­hill, has set course-record race times at his past two out­ings and is the model of con­sis­tency.

“When Chris first spoke to me about it, De­ploy had just won the Show County at Rand­wick and I said, ‘Do you think he’s good enough?’ ” Ryan said this week.

“Chris said, ‘He’s a win­ner, Gerald, he’s a win­ner.’ At that stage he’d won six out of his last eight.

“Af­ter he won at Rose­hill, on the Mon­day morn­ing I put Chris on to (man­ag­ing owner) John Cor­nish and said I’ll just train the horse.”

Cor­nish, Waller and the other own­ers agreed to undis­closed terms and De­ploy has fresh­ened up since.

“Life’s very, very hec­tic at the mo­ment,” Peter Tighe said, hav­ing just caught his breath af­ter Winx’s mem­o­rable 21st win at Flem­ing­ton last Satur­day, fol­lowed the night af­ter by re­ceiv­ing the ma­jor hon­our at the Cham­pion Race­horse Awards in Bris­bane.

Af­ter draw­ing a mid­dle bar­rier (seven) in a race with hot speed in­side and out, De­ploy has eased in bet­ting mar­kets from $11 to $15.

“He is sort of the un­known quan­tity, to be hon­est,” Tighe said.

“He could come out and win eas­ily or come out and find he is just not up to the mark.

“We’re not 100 per cent sure but he’ll be there with all guns blaz­ing and he’ll give it his best shot.

“He’s trained to the minute and he cer­tainly knows how to run fast on that track be­cause he is the cur­rent track record holder.”

When Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary con­quered the sum­mit of Mount Ever­est in 1953, he la­con­i­cally re­marked to his ex­pe­di­tion col­league Ge­orge Lowe: “Well, Ge­orge, we knocked the bas­tard off.” In the same un­der­stated way, the or­gan­is­ers of to­day’s $10 mil­lion The Ever­est horse race in Syd­ney — the rich­est turf race in the world — have over­come con­sid­er­able odds to pull off one of the great coups in world rac­ing.

Rac­ing NSW chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter V’landys, chair­man Russell Bald­ing and for­mer chair­man John Mes­sara are to be con­grat­u­lated for giv­ing Aus­tralian rac­ing a much-needed fil­lip by aim­ing high with this unique con­cept.

As the name sug­gests, V’landys and co have had a moun­tain to climb as parochial­ism and ri­val­ries threat­ened to hob­ble the event be­fore it even got off the ground. Vic­to­rian rac­ing of­fi­cials are said to have been con­cerned about the im­pact of such an event clash­ing with the of­fi­cial start of their Spring Car­ni­val with to­day’s Group 1 Caulfield Guineas. How­ever, they should look at the big­ger pic­ture with a race that once more spot­lights the sport of kings. The Ever­est may not yet be the race that stops a na­tion, as the first Tues­day in Novem­ber does. But ar­guably it has at­tracted the strong­est field of sprint­ers as­sem­bled in Syd­ney.

Yet, strangely, it does not have Group 1 sta­tus as it does not com­ply with rac­ing rules that stip­u­late a race has to have been held for at least three years to at­tain Group 1 el­i­gi­bil­ity. Such a rule seems ar­cane.

How­ever, pun­ters have al­ready voted with their wal­lets: bet­ting pools for The Ever­est are greater than all the money be­ing held so far for to­day’s Guineas, next week’s Caulfield Cup and the Mel­bourne Cup.

JAMES CROUCHER

Strap­per Rachel Wilkinson gives De­ploy some spe­cial at­ten­tion at Rose­hill sta­bles yes­ter­day be­fore he lines up for The Ever­est to­day

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