Trainer John O’Shea has been a supporter of the TAB Everest concept since the beginning and is looking forward to have his first runner in the $15 million event.
Trainer John O’Shea, preparing to have his first starter in The TAB Everest with Lost And Running, declared the rich Randwick sprint an example of what makes Australian racing envied on a global stage.
“It’s a wonderful concept and completely opposite to what the detractors said initially which was this was a race for the rich,” O’Shea said on Sky Racing’s The Trek To The Everest show during the week.
“But it is proven with Gytrash and horses like that the battlers have an opportunity to run for $15 million.
“This is what Australian racing is all about and what makes Australian racing the best in the world.”
O’Shea said The Everest, run at Royal Randwick on October 16, has been embraced by the punting public and a younger generation of racing enthusiasts.
“I think it has done what previous historical races haven’t been able to do and encapsulate the youth and encapsulate punters,” O’Shea said.
“They (punters) have the opportunity to examine the form over a 12-month period which you used to be able to do with the Melbourne Cup, but can no longer do.
“From the day we run The Everest in October, from the next day there is speculation over who is going to take the slots for next year.
“Where ever there is a good sprinting horse coming to fruition through the year there is discussion about it (starting in The Everest).”
Lost And Running, winner of six of his seven starts, begins his “trek” to The Everest when he resumes in the Group 2 $500,000 The Shorts (1100m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
O’Shea rates Lost And Running the best sprinter he has trained ahead of the biggest test of the gelding’s career against a crack field of sprinters.
It’s rare for every runner in a race to have a handicap rating of 100 or higher but that’s the case for the Group 1 $1 million George Main Stakes (1600m) at the Randwick meeting.
The George Main has attracted a nine-horse field that boasts seven individual Group 1 winners.
They include Verry Elleegant, the George Main favourite, who has a lofty 122 rating. Riodini has the lowest rating at 101.
The Shorts boasts an outstanding field of sprinters with five individual Group 1 winners among the eight starters including Nature Strip with a 121 rating.
Every starter in The Shorts has a rating of 100 or higher except the talented Handle The Truth, early favourite for the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko next month and a race the Canberra sprinter won two years ago.
Epsom Handicap favourite Ayrton is under injury cloud after being found with lameness in the near-hind leg on Thursday.
Trainer Mick Price reported to Racing NSW stewards that Ayrton has some swelling in the leg and has been treated by the stable veterinarian.
Price advised there is “no conclusive diagnosis” of Ayrton’s injury problem but will continue to assess the boom four-year-old’s progress this week and determine if the leg issue may impact Sydney spring carnival plans.
Ayrton is the $4.50 favourite for the $1.5 million Epsom Handicap, run over 1600m at Royal Randwick on October 2, and on the second line of betting at $5 for the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) to be run at Rosehill Gardens on October 30.
The training setback to Ayrton came just a day after it was revealed top class three-year-old Converge had been ruled out of the $1 million Golden Rose (1400m), which is scheduled for Rosehill Gardens next week.
Converge disappointed in his return to racing when only eighth to Anamoe in the Run To The Rose at Kembla Grange last Saturday but co-trainer Adrian Bott advised Racing NSW stewards the blood tests taken from the gelding revealed an “abnormality, indicative of an infection”.
Bott said Converge has been treated with antibiotics and would not run in the Golden Rose.
In other Golden Rose news, form jockey Jason Collett has been booked to ride the Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained Artorius in the Group 1 three-year-old classic next week.
Artorius is on the second line of TAB Fixed Odds betting at $8 behind Godolphin’s Anamoe at $2 for the Golden Rose.
Amarelinha could follow the winning trail blazed by her stablemate Probabeel if she can take out the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Trainer Jamie Richards and jockey Kerrin McEvoy combine with Amarelinha as they did with Probabeel last year when that mare won the Bill Ritchie-Epsom Handicap double last year.
The Bill Ritchie Handicap, first run in 1978, has suddenly become a crucial lead-up race into the Epsom. Kolding won both races in 2019 and Boban also completed the double in 2013.
The race is named after the late Bill Ritchie, a leading owner, breeder, punter and philanthropist until his passing in 1990. Ritchie enjoyed considerable success with his familiar Bangaloe Stud red and black silks which are used to this day by his daughter, Julia Ritchie, the Vice-Chair of the Australian Turf Club.
The running of the Bill Ritchie Handicap also gives reason to celebrate the Bill and Patricia Ritchie Foundation’s endowment of the Professorial chair at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and their commitment to finding medical solutions to chronic auto-immune illness.
Kattegat, the “Moruya Marvel”, kept himself in the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko with his game third at Kembla Grange on Thursday.
The Natalie Jarvis-trained Kattegat, carried topweight of 61kg, ran on well from near last on the turn to finish a close third, beaten just over a length by the promising Delexo in a fast 57.25s for the 1000m.
Delexo was able to run his final 600m in 33s which made almost mathematically impossible for a backmarker like Kattegat to win the race so his effort to make good ground late in the race was full of merit.
There are still three slots available for The Kosciuszko with Mo’s Crown out to impress his claims in the Heineken Handicap at Randwick on Saturday.
The speedy Nadaraja, who was selected for The Kosciuszko after his runaway win at Scone last start, is entered for the TAB Highway.
Originally published as TAB Everest is embraced the world over and John O’Shea is thrilled to have his first runner