The field for the $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 13 is starting to take shape with further ins and outs developing in the final lead up to the world’s richest sprint on turf.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained English and Invincible Star lost their slots after both mares pulled up lame over the long weekend.
Leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees will now saddle up three runners in The Everest after Le Romain was signed up to fill the slot owned by GPI Racing who had released Invincible Star and the multiple Group 1 winner will join stablemates Graff, who will run for Max Whitby and In Her Time was has been selected by the TAB.
The owners of Moir Stakes winner Viddora have negotiated a deal with Damion Flower after he had originally allocated English to run in his slot which leaves the ATC still to select a runner to fill their slot.
Le Romain’s managing owner Tony Carusi had been sweating on a slot becoming available and is thrilled to have the six year old running in the Everest Carnival’s prestige sprint.
“We’ve been hanging around hoping to get a slot,’’ Carusi said.
“We stayed away from the Epsom because of the weight and decided to sit back and hope it pans out our way. We feel pretty lucky.
“We’ve got a shot at the big one and that’s the dream.’’
Trainer Kris Lees said that Le Romain deserves to take his place in The Everest and join up with stablemates Graff and In Her Time.
“He’s a horse that won’t let you down and he’s very competitive in whatever you run him in because he is so tough and honest,” Lees The Daily Telegraph.
“He’s a three-time Group 1 winner and a 1300m Group 1 winner at Randwick (Canterbury Stakes) at weight-for-age. He is the type of horse that would make any race under any other circumstances, so I think he deserves his spot.”
Le Romain kicked off his Everest Carnival campaign with a first up win in the Group 3 $150,000 Nexon Show County Quality (1200m) at Randwick on August 18 and then two runs later finished second to Winx in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White (George Main) Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 15.
“The four weeks between runs is a nice option for him,” Lees said.
“He had an easy time on the water walker for a week and he’s pretty right.
“Just for a brief second he did (make Winx earn it) but his days of being a miler might be gone, so I think he’ll sprint really well.”
Graff has proven to be one of the top three year olds of the 2018 Spring Carnival and is coming off a third to The Autumn Sun in the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on September 22 while In Her Time did her Everest chances no harm with a last start third to rivals Santa Ana Lane and Shoals in the Group 2 $500,000 Santos Coffee Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last Saturday.
The Lloyd Kennewell trained Viddora earned her slot in The Everest with her determined win in the Group 1 $500,000 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) at The Valley last Friday night.
Confirmed runners for the 2018 The Everest: Trapeze Artist (Aquis, slot holder), In Her Time (TAB), Redzel (Yulong Investments), Brave Smash (Chris Waller Racing), Shoals (The Star), Viddora (Damion Flower), Santa Ana Lane (Inglis), U S Navy Flag (Coolmore), Vega Magic (James Harron), Le Romain (GPI Racing) and Graff (Max Whitby), with one remaining slot owned by the ATC yet to be filled.
Pre-post betting for the 2018 The Everest at Ladbrokes.com.au: $6 Santa Ana Lane, $7 In Her Time, Trapeze Artist, Vega Magic, $8 Redzel, Shoals, $10 U S Navy Flag, Viddora, $12 Brave Smash, $14 Graff, $21 Le Romain, Zousain, $26 Home Of The Brave, $41 Jungle Cat, $61 Pierata, Houtzen, $101 Written By, Ball Of Muscle, Kemono, Voodoo Lad.