Ever­est is a rac­ing sum­mit

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Front Page - By Mar­cus Hersh

Aus­tralia pro­duces the best turf sprint­ers in the world, and who­ever wins the in­au­gu­ral run­ning of the Ever­est Stakes on Satur­day at Royal Rand­wick un­doubt­edly will be on top of the world.

The Ever­est is worth $7,774,000 and thus car­ries the high­est purse of any turf race. The race, how­ever, is mod­eled af­ter the Pe­ga­sus World Cup at Gulfstream, and the con­nec­tions of the en­trants must pay a $600,000 en­try fee that se­cures a slot in the race for a three-year pe­riod.

Ex­cite­ment sur­round­ing the Ever­est has been build­ing since the an­nounce­ment in Fe­bru­ary of its cre­ation, and a full field of 12 plus two also-el­i­gi­bles has been en­tered. The Ever­est is con­tested over 1,200 me­ters, about six fur­longs, around one right-handed bend at Royal Rand­wick. Post time for the Ever­est, race 8 on a block­buster 10-race card, is 1:15 a.m. East­ern. Bet­ting and live video of the races are avail­able at DRF Bets, and Daily Rac­ing Form has part­nered with Sky Rac­ing to spon­sor the Ever­est Tour­na­ment, a free hand­i­cap­ping con­test that starts at 10 p.m. East­ern on DRF Tour­na­ments. The con­test win­ner re­ceives a free trip to Aus­tralia for Day 1 of The Cham­pi­onships at Rand­wick on April 7, 2018.

The Ever­est is a weight-for­age race, which is a mark in fa­vor of the ex­tremely tal­ented 3-year-old filly She Will Reign. She Will Reign car­ries just 112 pounds, 17 fewer than the older males in the race, and 12 fewer than the older fe­males. She Will Reign breaks from post 2 un­der Corey Brown, who has the mount on the 2016 Golden Slip­per win­ner for the first time. She Will Reign won the Golden Slip­per, also at six fur­longs, with a great ground-sav­ing trip, but she fell into that trip thanks to an un­usu­ally sharp early move at the start of the turn that pro­pelled her into per­fect po­si­tion. She Will Reign has tac­ti­cal pace, but ral­lied wide to beat older horses Sept. 29 in the five-fur­long Moir Stakes at Moonee Val­ley, her first race as a 3-year-old.

“She’s got no weight on her back, and she’s just got to turn up with the form she’s pro­duced every time she’s come to the races and I’m sure she’ll be very com­pet­i­tive,” Brown said.

Ker­rin McEvoy rode She Will Reign in the Moir, but is the pi­lot on the bril­liantly fast Redzel in the Ever­est. Redzel comes off a course-record­set­ting per­for­mance at Royal Rand­wick over 5 1/2 fur­longs, and while he is clearly among the prime con­tenders, Redzel is not en­tirely proven against top com­pany over six fur­longs.

Per­haps the big­gest ques­tion in the Ever­est is how Chau­tauqua will run. Seven-year-old Chau­tauaqua has de­liv­ered some of the best turf-sprint per­for­mances in the world over the last few sea­sons and has shown his very best be­fore at Rand­wick. But Chau­tauqua’s two races lead­ing to the Ever­est pro­duced sixth- and sev­en­th­place fin­ishes. The first of those was over just 5 1/2 fur­longs, and Chuau­tauqua came fly­ing home too late in his most re­cent race, but one won­ders if af­ter 30 starts he still can muster his late run in time to get home.

Five-year-old Vega Magic has won 12 of 17 over­all and eight of his last 10, and he is a proven Group 1 per­former. He’s turn­ing back from seven fur­longs and prob­a­bly can’t at­tain quite the same fa­vor­able early press­ing po­si­tion go­ing six, but Vega Magic rates a real chance.

Clearly In­no­cent won’t be as far back early as Chau­tauqua but also does his best work late. He is proven at the Group 1 level go­ing six fur­longs and had a seem­ingly ideal re­cent prep race.

The Gai Water­house-trained 5-year-old mare English en­ters on a seven-race los­ing streak that be­lies her im­prov­ing form. De­ploy set the Rand­wick six­fur­long course record ear­lier this year, but as fast as he is, faces a se­ri­ous class test. The ca­pa­ble Red­kirk War­rior has not shown his best over the lo­cal sod, al­though those race were run over heavy go­ing he does not rel­ish.

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