After a week of controversy, drama and a lot of rain, Redzel has reaffirmed his status as Australia’s best sprinter by defending his title in the $13 million Everest at Randwick.
Trained by Peter and Paul Snowden for a large Triple Crown syndicate which celebrated what they thought was their biggest win a year ago in the inaugural running, Redzel ($8.50) led all the way to beat Trapeze Artist ($10) by 1-1/4 lengths with Osborne Bulls ($21) another 1-1/2 legnths third.
With Redzel drawing the inside gate, Kerrin McEvoy took the initiative and controlled the race.
“This is euphoria at its best. It is such an electric feeling,” McEvoy said.
“I was really happy there was a bit of rain around and he did the rest. It is a huge buzz to win it again, unbelievable.”
“Last year we had a bunny. This year there were a few scenarios going through Peter and Paul’s heads and mine as to how it might unfold.
“I thought Ryan Moore’s horse (U S Navy Flag) might be a bit of a pest early, maybe Hayes’ horse (Vega Magic) with the blinkers on if he got a bit keen.”
“From the one gate, that was Plan A, to control it from the front. That’s what this horse is able to do. He loved the ground and is such a little warrior. He is a joy to be a part of.”
He is also a joy for the Snowdens and Triple Crown which is headed by Michael and Chris Ward.
“To happen once was a dream but to do it again is unbelievable,” Michael Ward said.
“I was overseas until Thursday but I heard about all the flak Peter V’landys was getting about the race.
“We are happy to be a part of it.”
In the lead-up to the race, Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys copped criticism for his plans to promote the race with a light show on the sails of the Sydney Opera House while broadcaster Alan Jones fuelled the fire with a tirade against Opera House chief executive Louise Herron.
Far from being put off by protests, a crowd of 40,578 attended Randwick undeterred by the wet weather.
Senior trainer Peter Snowden was always confident Redzel would bounce back from his last-start third in the Premiere Stakes won by Santa Ana Lane from Shoals who ran sixth and 11th in the 12-horse Everest field.
“I knew we had the horse and I was confident he would make improvement,” he said.
“He (Kerrin) judged the pace perfectly to give him the chance to finish off hard and the last furlong was his best.
:”He did it tough today. He led so hats off to him. I’m so proud of him.
“The Everest is amazing. Hats off to Racing NSW and the ATC. It’s just going to get bigger and bigger.”