Redzel Eyeing Everest Peak

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Redzel | Darren Tindale

While the focus of the betting for Saturday’s inaugural A$10-million The Everest may be on Gary Portelli’s G1 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign (Aus) (Manhattan Rain {Aus}), the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Redzel (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}) has the form on the board to not only capture the prize in the world’s richest turf race, but to give his large syndicate of owners the absolute thrill of a lifetime.

The Everest, modeled after the Stronach Group’s inaugural $12-million GI Pegasus World Cup in January, sold 12 slots for A$600,000 apiece to owners on a three-year commitment, with the purse funded by those entries fees as well as additional revenues generated from the event. Any profits from the event will be distributed among the slot holders (click here for a TDN Q&A on The Everest).

Unbeaten in his last four starts all at black-type level, highlighted by the G1 Doomben 10,000, Redzel looks capable of jumping well from gate four.

Redzel enters The Everest off strong scores in the G3 Concord S. on Sept. 2 and the G2 Shorts S. on Sept. 16, both at Randwick. Although unlikely to be able to lead over Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Houtzen (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}), who jumps from gate one, gate four will allow jockey Kerrin McEvoy to be camped just off the speed on Redzel and ready to pounce if the leader puts up the white flag.

“We know he’s a winning chance,” Redzel’s co-trainer Paul Snowden told Racenet.com.au. “Probably 12 months ago, he was a length or two off them at the top but now he’s a genuine contender to pull off a race like The Everest on Saturday. He worked well [Wednesday] morning. He had a nice trial the other day so basically his last bit of work was just preparing to be cherry ripe on Saturday.”

Trainer Toby Edmonds told Racing.com of Houtzen’s draw, “It’s good to get that barrier in The Everest, it’s very important to get the fence for a young horse like that against the older horses. We probably could [lead them up] but I’ll leave that to [jockey] Jeff Lloyd; we’ve spoken about a number of options and he’s got a few ideas and I’m probably best leaving it to him.”

“Her weight relief is probably the only chance she’s got really, she carries 51 kilograms and the older horses are carrying eight more basically so she gets her chance,” Edmonds added. “It is very hard to be confident in a race like this but we’re there and we’ve drawn a good barrier and we’ll be in the race for a long way.”

With her best performances coming when able to lead, Houtzen should get all the favours from the inside gate, and if the tempo of the race slackens mid-race, the Group 3 winner may have enough in the tank to sprint rounding the home turn and hold off any challengers.

Currently favourite after her stunning first-up victory in the G1 Schweppes S. at Moonee Valley, She Will Reign does appear to have everything in her favour with only 51kgs on her back. While McEvoy partnered her in the Moir, Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Corey Brown will be aboard for the first time in The Everest. Having shown she is capable of being positioned anywhere in the field, the filly has only tasted defeat on one occasion from six starts, and if victory falls her way, she will become the sixth-highest prizemoney earner in Australian racing history.

Currently sitting in sixth on that illustrious list is triple G1 TJ Smith S. winner Chautauqua (Aus) (Encosta de Lago {Aus}), whose record over the Royal Randwick 1200m sees the 7-year-old with an undeniable chance on Saturday. Although beaten in his two runs this prep, the grey flash has come with a strong finish both times and has an undeniably strong record over the Randwick 1200, having won the last three runnings of the G1 TJ Smith S.

“The last 200m is where it counts and his last 200m is phenomenal, always has been and probably always will be,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes told Racenet.com.au. “That’s a trait that he’s got that he really wants to hit the line, attack the line and he certainly still wants to be there because he’s still doing that. He’s still got that killer instinct, he’s still got that will to win and he’s a horse that in the past has produced something special in the big event. I think he’s on a similar path and he’s a horse that can do the unimaginable so you can never write him off.”

The Hayes and Dabernig team will saddle up three runners in the field with last-start stakes winners Vega Magic (Aus) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) and Redkirk Warrior (GB) (Notnowcato {GB}) giving their connections undeniable chances.

Unbeaten in his four starts for the stable, Vega Magic drops back from his last-start G1 Memsie S. win over 1400m, while Redkirk Warrior’s facile 2 1/2-length win in the G2 Bobbie Lewis Quality on Sept. 16 has the imported galloper ready to prove his worth.

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