A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Hawkes Racing are yet to lock-in a hoop to ride their champion sprinter Chautauqua in The Everest 2017 after Tommy Berry was ruled out of the mount this week.
Berry had put in a special request to the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) to be allowed to return to Australia on October 14 to partner $8.3 million earner Chautauqua in the inaugural edition of the $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick.
The Hong Kong-based hoop, who only last week had his licence to ride for John Moore next season approved, had this release request rejected as the HKJC has one of their just five Saturday meetings scheduled for the same date.
“It’s disappointing but I understand and respect the club’s decision,” Berry told Racenet.
“If we were racing on the Sunday in Hong Kong there wouldn’t have been a problem.
“I’ve spoken to John Hawkes and he understands and said it’s just unfortunate.
“John said you’re starting a new chapter of your career and you just need to concentrate on that.”
The Everest is the latest bid by Sydney Racing to steal some of the spring attention away from Melbourne and the Restricted feature is now the world’s richest turf race.
Triple TJ Smith winner Chautauqua is early favourite in futures The Everest betting at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $4.80 to win the weight-for-age feature.
The rising seven-year-old son of Encosta De Lago was last seen taking out his record third Group 1 TJ Smith over the same track and distance as The Everest during Sydney’s ‘The Championships’.
Berry was aboard for the historic feat and also rode the gelding for his two other latest starts when second to Le Romain in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) in the mud and third to the world’s best racehorse Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) also contested on a Heavy (10) track.
Dwayne Dunn is the other regular rider of Chautauqua having been aboard the horse 15 times during his 28 start career so far including a Group 1 victory in the 2016 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.
Team Hawkes have not committed to announcing Dunn as the replacement for Berry in The Everest field as yet however.
The other horses high-up the all-in The Everest odds include Gary Portelli’s Golden Slipper winning filly She Will Reign ($7) and the aforementioned Chris Waller-trained superstar mare Winx ($8).
Check out the full pre-nomination The Everest 2017 markets online now at Ladbrokes.com.au and get behind your early favourites in the lucrative spring feature.
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