Five of Australia’s top sprinters descended on Royal Randwick on Saturday in what turned out to be a thrilling edition of this year’s Everest leadup race, The Shorts (1100m).
The market was bang on for punters as race-favourite Pierata improved on his runner-up placing in last fortnight’s Group 3 Concorde Stakes, trumping Redzel and Classique Legend down the straight on a wet day in Sydney.
Pierata enjoyed a gun run with jockey Tommy Berry on board as the pair established a spot three-wide on the bend. Redzel led from the barriers, but the two-time Everest winner eventually ran out of steam down the straight as Pierata and Classique Legend challenged.
All three found themselves side-by-side over the final 100m, offering a sneaky preview into the world’s richest turf race with the trio already holding an Everest slot.
Pierata remains the $5.00 favourite with Ladbrokes, and not surprisingly, trainer Gregory Hickman took plenty away from the win.
“The race has worked out perfectly, he let down and fought really hard to the line. He is right where we want him” Hickman said.
Despite running third, Redzel wasn’t disgraced either as the seven-year-old showed his usual explosive turn of foot in the wet.
Redzel can be had for $8.00 to claim an Everest threepeat on October 19 at Randwick, as long-time jockey Kerrin McEvoy also chose to focus on the positives.
“Happy with his run, he knuckled a bit out of the gates, which got him off balance a shade, he soon moved well, we were there at the top of the straight with a good chance and he’s ran well.
Knowing the Snowdens they haven’t got him screwed down yet and we’ve got a month before the Everest, so looking forward towards the next race” McEvoy said after the race.
The Group 2 Shorts is one of Australia’s most time-honoured races. First running in 1867, it has since transformed into the ideal Everest leadup – one Redzel won himself back in 2017.
Even with the $14 million race less than a month away, Hickman remains unsure whether Pierata requires a freshen up ahead of the Everest.
“We’ll just wait. We’ll see how he is at home. If I think he needs it we will go around or if not he won’t be. He’s as good as he’s ever been so we’ll be in the money somewhere.”
Favourites have won The Shorts five times in the races’ history, while Pierata also became the third horse to win from barrier three.