A return to the winner’s stall by Vega Magic in the Group 3 $150,000 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday could see the big chestnut in the mix for one of the remaining slots for the 2018 The Everest.
Nine slots have already been filled for the $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 13 which leaves three vacant, although the connections of Chautauqua are hoping he can regain his barrier certificate and take up one of the slots.
Vega Magic hasn’t collected a winner’s cheque since taking out the Group 1 $1m New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival but did finish second at his next start to Redzel in the inaugural running of The Everest.
Lindsay Park’s head trainer David Hayes is confident Vega Magic will put himself into contention for The Everest when he resumes in the Bletchingly at his first run since finishing eighth to Santa Anna Lane in the Group 1 $1m Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 19.
“I think if he’s racing well someone will pick him up but if he’s not then they won’t pick him up,” Hayes told AAP.
“I think it’s a pretty simple scenario.”
“There’s still three months to The Everest and a lot of things can play out between now and then.”
“The thing if you’re an owner and you’ve got an out-of-form horse as your slot, you’re ripping up $600,000.
“If you’re going to sit there with a proven performer like Vega, if he’s in form, on the sidelines, if I owned a slot with a 20/1 shot and I could have a 3/1 shot, I’d be dropping the 20/1 shot.
“If he doesn’t get a run in the race there’s still plenty of good races to run him in in Melbourne.”
A good first up performance from Vega Magic in the Bletchingly Stakes will see him head back to Caulfield again to defend his title in the Memsie Stakes.
Vega Magic is one of thirteen horses in the original Bletchingly Stakes nominations that also includes five Darren Weir trainer sprinters, Black Heart Bart, Camdus, Man From Uncle, Nature Strip and Voodoo Lad.