The Everest 2021 Preview
The Everest is Australia’s richest race and will take place at Royal Randwick in Sydney on Saturday, October 16.
An invite only sprint race over six furlongs (1200m), there is $15 million up for grabs. Blackbook.com.au, the leading Australian horse racing site, have picked out the best chances.
Trainer Les Bridge is likely to replicate the 2020 campaign with the popular grey – racing first-up up in The Shorts (September 18) before the Premiere Stakes (October 2) & then contesting The Everest (October 16) third-up.
Sitting off a strong speed under Kerrin McEvoy, Classique Legend was dominant in the last year’s Everest, bolting in to the tune of two and a half lengths, leaving Australia’s best sprinters in his wake before a short and failed Hong Kong stint.
While he does need to rebound which is the obvious query, the six-year-old is still so lightly raced with just the 13 starts to his name and all things equal, he’s still top seed to defend his crown on Everest Day at Royal Randwick on October 16.
The son of Toronado was the second runner to be confirmed for the Everest (Whitby/Werrett slot) following a second to Nature Strip in the TJ Smith Stakes on April 24, which followed his first Group One win in the William Reid Stakes.
Now a more seasoned five-year-old and coming off a breakthrough preparation at the top level, Masked Crusader is primed to take over from the likes of Nature Strip, Eduardo and Gytrash and put himself right at the top.
The return win when coming from last to salute in the ‘The Heath’ on Memsie Stakes Day was excellent and it deservedly saw his price slash for this $15 million dollar feature, which is well and truly the spring target.
After winning seven of his first eight starts, the Rob Heathcote-trained gelding fractured a sesamoid bone when defeated as an odds-on favourite in last year’s Golden Rose, requiring surgery & an extensive rehab program.
There was no doubt that Rothfire was set to dominate that three-year-old season, a galloper that can at least stretch his brilliance to 1400m, a trait that is more than handy for The Everest given how brutally run it can be.
Winning a second trial at Doomben on August 31, the star Queenslander will resume in The Shorts on September 18 at Randwick and with a strong audition there, the $11 that is currently available will be long gone.
Back to his brilliant best in the autumn with victories in the Lightning & TJ Smith Stakes, Nature Strip returned to the top Australia’s sprinting ranks after a disappointing including a seventh in the 2020 Everest.
Showing a little more maturity when taking a sit and saluting first-up in the Lightning back in the autumn, he’s starting to show he’s no one trick pony and that versatility will be needed if he’s to reign supreme at his third Everest attempt.
Given the strength of the sprinting ranks currently and with SPs of $21 and $7 in the last two editions of this feature, we suggest waiting rather than taking the current odds as even if he’s flying, $4+ should be freely available on the day.
Godolphin have a tough decision to make on who their Everest runner will be in 2021, however with their older sprinters in Trekking and Viridine past their best and not up to this level anyway, we suspect they’ll take a risk with a three-year-old.
They have at least a few options with Ingratiating and Paulele the likely two contenders with Anamoe on a Golden Rose/Guineas path, and although it’s a tough decision, Paulele is the one with runs on the board in Sydney and is campaigning north currently.
It’s worth forgetting the second a slowly run San Domenico and go off the Rosebud win fresh, where at 1.01.98 for the 1100m with a 33.09 last 600m, they have flown, so in a fast 1200m with a low weight, this colt has an X Factor feel about him for the Everest.
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