Jockey Kerrin McEvoy celebrates Redzel’s victory in last year’s TAB Everest. Picture: AAP
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy celebrates Redzel’s victory in last year’s TAB Everest. Picture: AAP

Bidding war rages for $14m Everest opening

THERE is huge demand for the forfeited $14 million Everest slot of controversial racing identity Damion Flower as local and overseas suitors battle for the prized opening in the world's richest turf race.

Racing NSW has been inundated from domestic and international interests wanting to bid for the prized slot in the world's richest turf race.

"If there is a positive out of this situation it is the number of calls we have received from people and businesses, both here and overseas, wanting to buy the Everest slot this year,'' Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys said.

"The board of Racing NSW will meet as soon as practicable to determine what to do with the Everest slot.''

Racing NSW's options include selling the slot to the highest bidder or retaining the slot to use it as a last-ditch wildcard into the Everest, run at Royal Randwick on October 19.

Flower forfeited his Everest slot for this year's race, run at Royal Randwick on October 19, when he was arrested last week for his alleged role in a drug importation ring.

The high-profile owner has paid the $600,000 for the Everest slot this year and has taken up the option for 2020.

V'landys said Flower is entitled to the presumption of innocence and Racing NSW will not make a determination on the 2020 Everest slot until it learns the outcome of court proceedings against the owner.

Damion Flower. Picture: AAP
Damion Flower. Picture: AAP

FLOWER'S UGLY WEEDS

The Flower saga has provided the racing industry with some unwanted and unnecessary publicity with some commentators even trying to make the assertion the owner's predicament is an example of racing's seedy underbelly.

This is unfair criticism of the sport as the allegations against Flower are not connected with his racing interests.

It would be naïve to suggest racing is not without its issues but to use Flower's problems as somehow indicative of widespread corruption in the sport is plainly inaccurate and a slight on the vast majority of the honest, hard-working industry participants.

EVEREST KING IS BACK

Redzel returns to pre-training Monday to begin his preparation towards a possible third successive Everest in the spring.

But owners Triple Crown Syndications Michael and Chris Ward still must secure an Everest start for Redzel after it was confirmed late last week that Sunlight became the fourth confirmed starter after being snapped by up slot-holders Max Whitby and Neil Werrett.

Sunlight joins Pierata (Aquis), Classique Legend (owner Bon Ho purchased GPI Racing's slot for this year only) and Santa Ana Lane (TAB) are also in The Everest.

Chris Ward said he was hopeful Redzel's proven big-race ability will get the sprinter an Everest start while revealing there has been some slot-holder interest in the dual Everest champ.

Back-to-back The Everest winner Redzel. Picture: Jenny Evans
Back-to-back The Everest winner Redzel. Picture: Jenny Evans

It has also been confirmed that Triple Crown's promising three-year-old Military Zone, an impressive winner of the Fred Best Classic at Eagle Farm last Saturday, will miss the Stradbroke and instead be spelled ahead of a campaign aimed at the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on November 2.

Military Zone joins Sunlight, Classique Legend, Doncaster Mile winner Brutal, Graff, Nakeeta Jane and possibly Arcadia Queen and Mystique Journey on the Golden Eagle path next spring.

ROYAL RANDWICK DELIVERS

Has there been a stronger late-autumn Sydney race meeting than at Royal Randwick last Saturday?

In my 25 years covering the sport for The Daily Telegraph, I can't recall watching so many promising gallopers and potential Group-class horses competing at this late stage of the racing season in what was basically a low-key, off-carnival raceday.

Almost every race packed a punch with Prince Fawaz and Reloaded running the quinella in the Randwick opener. They are now favourites for the Group 1 JJ Atkins Plate at Eagle Farm on June 9.

The clash between Nobu and Carif in the three-year-old 2000m race was a thriller and with the duo now at the top of betting for the Group 1 Queensland Derby in two weeks.

Wolfe, the progressive Japanese-bred stayer, could be Brisbane Cup bound after holding off another promising import, Master Of Wine.

Jockey Rachel King rides Deprive to victory. Picture: AAP
Jockey Rachel King rides Deprive to victory. Picture: AAP

Kolding made it three wins in succession with a dominant effort and is likely to be aimed at the Queensland Guineas.

Renewal is a talented four-year-old who won with authority and will be spelled with an Epsom Handicap preparation in mind next spring.

The brilliant Deprive produced the run of the day to overhaul the emerging Heart Conquered over 1100m. Both sprinters are stakes-winners in waiting.

Deprive needed to produce something special to give Heart Conquered a big start and run him down as the runner-up wasn't stopping near the line.

A study of the sectional times show that Deprive ran a stunning final 600m in 32.76s. His sectional splits also make very impressive reading as he broke 11s for his five closing 200m splits - 10.83s, 10.29s, 10.86s, 10.92, and 10.98s.

RARE TREBLE ON CARDS

The Bostonian is poised for a unique Brisbane Group 1 sprint treble in the Stradbroke Handicap next month.

I'll be the first to admit I've underestimated The Bostonian but he backed up his Doomben 10,000 win with another strong effort to take out the Kingsford Smith Cup at Eagle Farm last Saturday.

No sprinter has won the Doomben 10,000-Kingsford Smith Cup-Stradbroke treble since the middle leg was elevated to Group 1 level in 2006.

Apache Cat (2008) and Sea Siren (2012) won the opening two legs but the former did not contest the Stradbroke while Sea Siren ran ninth in the final race of the series. Melito (2010) was placed in all three sprints before a deserved Group 1 win in the Winter Stakes.

The Bostonian, the new Stradbroke Handicap favourite, completed a winning treble for jockey Michael Cahill who is riding in career-best form.

VALE PAUL MAKIN

Paul Makin, the owner of 2004 AJC Australian Derby winner and leading stallion Starcraft, died over the weekend. He was 82.

Makin was still racing horses with success until his passing including promising filly Winning Ways, prepared by Starcraft's trainer Gary Newham, and one of the chances in the Queensland Oaks next Saturday.

News Corp Australia


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