NO wonder they are calling it The Everest.
Sydney’s planned turf war with Melbourne during the Spring Carnival is a bridge too far for pretty much every horse owner and trainer on the planet – just like climbing Mount Everest for mere mortals.
With a gold plated $1.8 million entry price tag commitment over three years, it remains to be seen just how many trainers can actually afford to put a horse in the 1200 metre sprint race at Royal Randwick – although the carrot of a $10 million prize pool will be simply too juicy for some to resist.
In fact, the king’s ransom will make The Everest the world’s richest race on the lawn – dwarfing the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup and sitting behind dirt races the Pegasus World Cup ($21 million) and Dubai World Cup ($17.5 million).
This is Sydney’s way of saying “hey Melbourne, we want a bigger piece of the racing pie”, given that it already has The Championships and will run The Everest in direct competition with the Caulfield Guineas on October 14.
Our friends at Sportsbet.com.au have not hesitated to install Aussie superstar mare Winx as the red hot favourite, ahead of Astern and Chatauqua, both at $7.
Extreme Choice and Flying Artie are both $8 and then it is a raffle from there.
The problem is, the stud will be calling Astern, Flying Artie and Extreme Choice’s owners – and they can make a bucket load more money helping serve mares than they could running in the race.
And, the question is, do you enter a raffle where it costs $600,000 to be involved and you basically have to finish in the top six just to make your money back?
Of course you do, if you have the money and the possibility that you could win a monstrous $5.8 million if your horse is first past the post.
It’s basically like racing for ink slips.
If you finish in the bottom half of the planned 12-horse field, you’re basically donating your cash to those who finish above you.
And while that is often the case with entry fees, there has never been an entry fee quite like this.
The final acceptances for the Melbourne Cup are a tick under $50,000 – more than 10 times less than that off The Everest.
Of course, you have the rich overseas trainers, like the Godolphin Stable, who would almost certainly be attracted to the event, but would also have to foot the travel expenses to go along with the entry fee – an expensive proposition, even for the Sheik.
It’s not complete doom and gloom though – there has already been support from some trainers, with John Hawkes hopeful Chautauqua is involved and Canberra sprinter Fell Swoop earmarked by trainer Matthew Dale for the inaugural race. And Speith’s trainer Bryce Heys is also up and about for the race.
It is interesting in that when you commit to the three year $1.8 million ask, you get a slot in the race for that term. You don’t have to run the same horse in all three seasons and you can sell off your slot if your horse either doesn’t get up or you don’t think it should run in the race.
It is not quite the complete poison chalice, but certainly would be the biggest commitment for any horse owner or syndicate in Australia.
The race does run the risk of attracting billionaire owners from all over the world, at the expense of the world’s best sprinters.
For all the anger in Victoria over it, if you look at it with a broader world view, it can only be good for the industry – provided the commitment comes from the trainers to support it.
And what about the punters?
Well, hopefully Chris Waller slots Winx in there and there’s your drawcard. The gun sprinter is a sight to behold and is the obvious favourite for the race.
But she’s not quite as invincible as the likes of Black Caviar and there would be plenty of trainers out there who would fancy their chances of beating her.
And what about the punters?
Well, on the whole, they won’t care, especially if the race does attract the crack field it so promises.
While there’s no doubt this is an attack on Melbourne’s prestige as the racing capital of Australia, Racing New South Wales and the Australian Turf Club are toeing a solid line on it, saying that the Spring Carnival could also benefit as international sprinters can progress to Melbourne for any number of sprint features in the ensuing weeks following the race.
If only The Everest had have been announced five years ago. We could have seen the great Black Caviar go around in it.
Although then, it may not have worked, because who in their right mind would spend all that money to go up against the greatest sprinter of all time?
Never beaten in 25 starts over any distance, Black Caviar would probably have been the odds on favourite – no matter which horses were involved – and that would have definitely made some trainers.
By the end of her career, she was running against tiny, or second rate fields, because trainers just knew they couldn’t beat her.
There are times where being so good has its disadvantages.
2017 The Everest race winner market
$8 Extreme Choice
$8 Flying Artie
$15 Acapulco (USA)
$15 Lady Aurelia (USA)
$15 Music Magnate
$15 Star Turn
$26 Russian Revolution
$34 Black Heart Bart
$34 Lucky Hussler
$67 Big Arthur
$67 Fell Swoop
$67 Lucky Bubbles
$67 Not Listenin’tome
$67 The Quarterback
$101 Illustrious Lad
$101 Rebel Dane
$101 Under The Louvre
$201 Pakistan Star
Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
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