The world’s richest turf race will again take center stage at Royal Randwick this Saturday with a capacity field of sprinters stepping out in the fifth running of The Everest.
Last year’s winner Classique Legend has been installed as the favourite to defend his crown, while Chris Waller is hoping to return to the winner’s circle when he lines up not only Nature Strip, but also promising three-year-old colt Home Affairs.
The $15 million purse has seen the likes of Gytrash, Trekking, and Eduardo return for another crack, setting up another exciting race between several of Australia’s top sprinters.
We have analysed the entire field and our thoughts on every runner in this year’s The Everest can be found here!
Six-time Group 1 winner Nature Strip is back for another crack at The Everest after failing to run a place last year.
The Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip returned to work with a comfortable win over Wild Ruler in the Concorde, but struggled late in The Shorts to finish half-a-length second to Eduardo.
The seven-year-old has work to do after drawing wide but is no doubt one of the top chances as a two-time track and distance winner.
Also loves a wet track and tends to do his best work fresh.
Defending champion Classique Legend has made only one start since he won this race last year, finishing well down the straight in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin.
The son of Not A Single Doubt has won his two trials leading in and is also an impressive three-time winner first-up from a spell.
His track and distance record rivals that of Nature Strip, while he is also an impressive four-time winner at Randwick.
The six-year-old is a proven wet-tracker and the rightful favourite ahead of his return.
Dual Group 1 winner Eduardo returns from a freshen-up hoping to improve on a narrow win over Nature Strip last month in The Shorts.
The Joseph Pride-trained Eduardo finished strongly after setting the tempo up front and was equally as impressive in his trial win under Nash Rawiller last week.
The eight-year-old capped off his autumn with a win in The Galaxy at Rosehill before heading to Brisbane to win the Doomben 10,000 over 1200m.
Looks set to peak now second-up and might be over the odds with solid wet track form to his name.
Last year’s third place-getter Gytrash returns for another crack at the prize-money and is poised to improve on his first-up placing in The Shorts.
The son of Lope De Vega has beaten home the likes of Nature Strip and Trekking in the past and has missed the money only one from six starts second-up.
He’s another one that handles a wet track and Jason Collett should have no trouble getting back from the inside gate.
Trekking is a very consistent type that has run no worse than fifth in his last nine starts.
Godolphin’s old boy ran home for fourth in last year’s Everest and has since resumed for back-to-back thirds in the Concorde and the Group 1 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley.
The son of Street Cry has won three times previously in his third run back and tends to do his best work over 1200m.
Masked Crusader scored an elusive Group 1 victory in the William Reid Stakes at The Valley and backed that performance up as a clear second to Nature Strip over the track and distance in the TJ Smith Stakes.
The Hawkes-trained gelding resumed to win The Heath at Caulfield back in August and has since atoned for a disappointing run in The Shorts with a win in the Premiere Stakes.
Masked Crusader is five-from-six over 1200m and is one of the better value bets with Tommy Berry sticking aboard.
Randwick specialist Wild Ruler is hoping to make it five wins from six starts on his home track on Saturday.
The son of Snitzel won the Group 2 Roman Consul over the track and distance last year before capping off the spring third to September Run in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
The four-year-old resumed in the Autumn to win the Listed Fireball Stakes and the Arrowfield Sprint over the track and distance, while he’s since been rewarded with a well-deserved Group 1 win last time out in the Moir Stakes at The Valley.
Looks a query on a potentially wet track but does have fitness on his side.
The Inferno has hardly put a foot wrong in three starts since venturing over to Australia.
The former Hong Kong galloper won the Group 2 McEwen Stakes two back at The Valley and was unlucky not to win the Moir Stakes last time out when denied by Wild Ruler on the line.
The step back up to 1200m looks ideal for him at this stage of his prep and he’ll only be fitter for three runs back.
Embracer is a three-time winner over 1200m and has been racing well of late against easier company.
The son of Sebring opened his prep a narrow second over the track and distance in the Show County Quality before returning a similar result in the Theo Marks Stakes at Kembla Grange.
He returned from a freshen-up two weeks ago to find the line for third in the Premiere Stakes behind Masked Crusader and will likely try and make his own luck on speed.
Lost and Running
Lost and Running has won six from nine starts so far in his career and showed some improvement for fourth last time out in the Premiere Stakes.
The son of Per Incanto looks to be a promising gelding in the making for John O’Shea, but give he finished last in The Shorts two starts back, this looks like another tough test.
Libertini is a first-up specialist with two wins and two placings on the board.
The mare by I Am Invincible beat home last year’s winner Classique Legend in the Premiere Stakes at Randwick but was no match in the $15 million feature a fortnight later.
Anthony Cummings’ five-year-old is a four-time winner over 1200m but remains at long odds following two below-average trials leading in.
Home Affairs is looking to follow in Yes Yes Yes’ footsteps by becoming the second three-year-old to win The Everest under trainer Chris Waller.
The promising son of I Am Invincible claimed his maiden in the Silver Slipper at Rosehill during the autumn before going on to run second to Anemoe in the Todman over the track and distance.
He trialed beautifully in the leadup to his return three weeks ago and did not disappoint winning the Listed Heritage Stakes at Rosehill by a big margin.
Out over further and from a handy gate, it is no surprise to find him firming into single figures.
Kementari rewarded punters’ patience with a first-up win In the Gilgai Stakes at Flemington two weeks ago.
He’s done some of his best racing second-up from a spell and has decent wet track form to suit.
Signore Fox held his own at Group 1 level during the Brisbane Winter Carnival, finishing with back-to-back thirds in the Kingsford Smith Cup and the Stradbroke at Eagle Farm.
The Exceed and Excel entire has trialed well in the leadup to his return and remains the second emergency.
Standout is among the emergencies for the second year running and would be tough to recommend based on his performances in the Oakleigh Plate and the Newmarket during the autumn.
Chat is yet to win from five starts at Randwick and would need luck to go his way as the fourth emergency.