South Australia’s Everest pair of Gytrash and Behemoth are both tracking perfectly towards the world’s richest race on turf at Royal Randwick next month.
Morphettville trainer Gordon Richards said the feedback was all positive from Sydney following Gytrash’s hit-out at Monday’s Rosehill trials, while on the same day Behemoth’s connections booked 60-time Group 1-winning jockey Nash Rawiller to ride.
Richards said Gytrash had continued to tick along perfectly in Sydney – under the guidance of Claire Cunningham and his Sydney jockey Jason Collett – ahead of the October 17 feature.
“He trialled well, he didn’t have a lot of opposition and usually goes as well as the horses around him, but his time was pretty good,” Richards said.
“He’s pulled up really well so we’re very happy.
“He’ll have a gallop between races at Warwick Farm next Wednesday, a gallop the following Tuesday and then into the Everest.”
Richards said he was looking forward to heading back to Sydney on Friday and was excited that some of Gytrash’s owners can be in Sydney for the momentous occasion.
“I think there is about 60 of the owners going, which is great, plus a lot are booked in to watch the race from Morphettville,” Richards said.
Goolwa-based David Jolly said Behemoth had enjoyed a quiet time since his latest Group 1 success – at Caulfield in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes – and would make a decision later in the week regarding a potential hit-out between races at Morphettville on Saturday or a jump-out at Murray Bridge on Friday.
“We’re just working out what will suit the horse best and the timing,” Jolly said.
“He’ll have a good gallop later in the week and then he’ll travel up the following week and I’ll probably head up with the horse.
“He worked a 1000m evens this morning. That’s basically all he’s done since Melbourne and it’s really just about maintenance between now and leaving for Sydney.”
Rawiller said he identified Behemoth as a horse with huge potential during his Sydney campaign last year – an opinion justified by the horse’s unbeaten spring campaign, featuring wins in the Group 3 Spring Stakes, and Group 1 Memsie Stakes and Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Jolly said while selecting a jockey was a complex decision – given the enormity of the race – between slot holder The Star and the horse’s owners Grand Syndicates, he was comfortable having a local jockey on board and someone he had enjoyed success with in the past
“I think Nash will really suit the horse and I’ve had a bit of success with him back in the day,” Jolly said.
“He won a Monash Stakes for me on Sassbee and was narrowly beaten by Miss Andretti in the McEwen.”
The final pieces of the complex Everest puzzle are beginning to take shape despite the race losing a drawcard when star Queensland galloper Rothfire was injured during last weekend’s Golden Rose in Sydney, leaving miRunners without a starter in their slot.
The miRunners group is reported to have four horses short listed as potential replacements including Goodwood winners Trekking and Santa Ana Lane, Libertini and Eduardo, who is by former Willow Grove Stud sire Host.
Godolphin confirmed on Monday that Bivouac would run under the Godolphin banner, leaving five remaining spots in this year’s feature.
Meanwhile Everest favourite Nature Strip will have his second run back from a spell when he steps out in this weekend’s Group 2 Premiere Stakes at Randwick, where he is marked a $1.80 favourite with tab.com.au and clashes with fellow Everest runner Classique Legend ($3.50 second favourite).