The worlds “richest race on turf”, The Everest will be run this Saturday at Royal Randwick over 1200 metres. Over the coming days, the Palmerbet team will profile all 12 Everest contenders to help you find the winner of Australia’s richest race.
Brave Smash was a length behind Redzel in last years Everest, finishing third. This year, the Weir stable have tried a different approach, racing Brave Smash over shorter distances before stepping him up to 1200 metres on Saturday for the first time this preparation. He has been placed all three runs this campaign in Group company and looks to be hitting his peak at the right time. The wet track is a query with only one run since coming to Australia for a second in Listed company over 12 months ago.
The all conquering Darren Weir stable continues to dominate Victorian racing. Last season, the stable broke it’s own record for winners nationally and is on track to better that mark again this season. With a double last weekend at Flemington to go with 5 winners at Caulfield the previous week the Weir stable is on fire! With 81 Group 1 wins, jockey Hugh Bowman is regarded by many as Australia’s best jockey. His ability to absorb pressure and expectation has been tested in recent times when accompanying Winx in her races. This will be the first time in recent history that Weir and Bowman will combine in a race. Australia’s most prolific trainer and the country’s number 1 Group 1 jockey! The sky is the limit.
Brave Smash should sit off the speed and get a nice run into the race. When winning the Group 1 Futurity at Caulfield (below) he camped on the leaders and got the split in the straight to win comfortably. From the good gate Hugh Bowman will be looking to do something similar and if the Japanese import handles the conditions, he may improve on last year’s third placing.
Prediction – 1st-4th
In Her Time ran well when resuming in the Premiere Stakes having her first run for Kris Lees. With a great second up record she will be primed for this weeks Everest. Missing out on a run in last years Everest, she won the Sydney Stakes second up on the same day, bettering the time of Everest winner Redzel. Earlier this year, she won the Group 1 Galaxy (below) on a soft track at Rosehill before an unlucky third in the TJ Smith. In Her Time has no heavy form which is a concern, but she has had two wins from seven attempts on soft going.
In Her Time has recently transferred to the stables of Kris Lees from the Ben Smith yard. Jockey Corey Brown has ridden her five times enjoying two wins and two placings. The Lees/Brown combination has proved profitable for punters over the last 12 months, with a win strike rate of 17% and a ROI of 30%. The experienced Brown, has ridden all over the globe in his career for over 2000 wins including 47 Group 1s. In recent times, Brown tasted Group 1 success, partnering Patrick Erin to win the Metropolitan a fortnight ago.
From Gate 8 Corey Brown will take In Her Time forward to sit outside the leader or preferably one out with cover. Similar to her win in the Galaxy, Brown will hope to kick in the straight and hold off challengers over the last 200 metres. Her rivals may be finishing too quickly for her late.
Prediction – 9th-12th
U.S Navy Flag provides the X factor in the Everest being the only overseas representative. He races in the Coolmore colours and is a last start Group 1 winner of the July Cup at Newmarket over 1200 metres. On paper, U.S Navy Flag’s recent form doesn’t read that well, but he has been tried over further ground and is now back to a more suitable distance. His three Group 1 wins have been over sprint journeys and he will run well.
There are no bigger names in racing than trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore. Since 1996 O’Brien has been Trainer for the powerful Coolmore racing operation in Ireland and in the 2017 season, O’Brien broke the world record for most Group 1s in a season with 28 wins. Ryan Moore has been the stable jockey for Coolmore since 2015. With over 2000 career winners in Britain, he ranks third of current riders in number of winners ridden, despite having been in the saddle for over a decade less. Moore has ridden U.S Navy Flag to victory on three occasions including the last start Group 1 win in the July Cup. The O’Brien/Moore combination have enjoyed big race success in Australia before, teaming up to win the W.S Cox Plate in 2014 with Adelaide.
Where U.S Navy Flag will sit in the run is a mystery. Some believe Ryan Moore will try to take a sit and find cover in the race before making his run in the straight. Interestingly, when winning the Group 1 July Cup (below) Moore went straight to the front and dictated the race. Some experts believe Moore may try to do the same again in the Everest. Expect U.S Navy Flag to run well this weekend.
Prediction – 5th-8th
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US Navy Flag wins the G1 Darley July Cup Stakes under Ryan Moore pic.twitter.com/DPF1YR5anO
— Dubai Racing Channel (@DubaiRacingTV) July 14, 2018
It is impossible to fault the build up to the Everest for Santa Ana Lane. Having won the Group 1 Goodwood and Stradbroke in successive starts in the winter, Santa Ana Lane resumed with a strong run to finish just behind the placegetters in the Group 3 The Heath, before winning the Group 2 Premiere Stakes at Randwick last start. He has a great third up record and handles wet tracks well. Santa Ana Lane is one Everest starter who has been set for the race a long way out, and that focus has not shifted throughout the preparation.
Anthony Freedman and Ben Melham have enjoyed a fantastic association with Santa Ana Lane with 5 wins from 11 rides. Freedman has a well earned reputation as a big race trainer, having trained 10 Group 1 winners from 84 starters with an impressive 65% ROI. Ben Melham has been in great form in the saddle, with a number of recent Group wins including the Group 1 Underwood Stakes on Homesman.
Santa Ana Lane to get back in the run and look to unleash his finishing burst in the straight. The Goodwood Handicap showcased the acceleration of Santa Ana Lane, where he went from looking held up and hopeless in the run to a comfortable winner in the space of 200 metres.