Global giant snaps up slot in The Everest
Godolphin Australia managing director Vin Cox told The Daily Telegraph a deal has been negotiated with Racing NSW to use The Everest slot this spring.
Flower's Everest slot became available after he was arrested last year and subsequently charged with drug importation offences. He is in prison awaiting trial after a bail application to the NSW Supreme Court was denied last December.
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Racing NSW and Godolphin have agreed to a one-year deal for The Everest slot but Cox said Godolphin is keen to align themselves long-term to The Everest, the world's richest race on turf.
"We would love to, absolutely,'' Cox said when asked if Godolphin wants to buy into The Everest on a permanent basis.
"The concept is very good, this is a very powerful race that has huge cut-through at international level. Godolphin is engaged with this race.''
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the owner of Godolphin, has the world's biggest racing empire and a deep pool of sprinting talent eligible for The Everest, run at Royal Randwick on October 17.
"We have Pinatubo in the northern hemisphere and plenty of local sprinters like Trekking, Bivouac and others - we have a bit of firepower,'' Cox said.
English sensation Pinatubo, trained by Charlie Appleby, was unbeaten in six starts during his juvenile season last year, including two Group 1 triumphs. He has been rated the best two-year-old to race in Europe for the past 25 years, superior even to the great Frankel.
Appleby has had success in Australia, winning the 2018 Melbourne Cup with Cross Counter and the 2017 Sydney Cup with Polarisation, so there is some chance, albeit slim, that Godolphin could consider sending the freakish Pinatubo to Sydney for The Everest.
There is more likelihood Godolphin would look to one of their local sprinters, including the James Cummings-trained Bivouac, as a potential Everest starter later this year.
Bivouac, winner of the Group 1 Golden Rose last spring, is the $2.90 favourite with TAB Fixed Odds to win another major in the $500,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.