Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
The Everest 2017 claims of the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained English have suffered a blow with the mare drawing the outside barrier for Saturday’s $10 million Restricted feature at Royal Randwick.
Barriers for the inaugural running of the weight-for-age showdown were drawn on Tuesday and first out was English who will be loaded into barrier 12 of 12 in Randwick Race 8 on Saturday afternoon.
A Group 1 winning daughter of Encosta De Lago, English has been to the track a dozen times for four wins, two seconds and a third, co-trainer Bott thrilled the mare is back in such a highly-anticipated race.
“There is a great buzz around the stable and a great buzz around the industry in general,” he told Racing NSW.
“It’s been a really positive move introducing The Everest and I’ve only heard positive feedback.
“We’re just glad to be a part of it and that we have a live chance.”
She won the All Aged Stakes (1400m), defeating Black Heart Bart, in April of 2016 and also saluted first-up this March in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) on a Heavy (10) Randwick course.
In the Challenge Stakes English beat home fellow The Everest hopeful, and her subsequent conqueror in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) next-up when she finished seventh, Redzel who comes into the race this weekend on the back of four straight wins.
English meanwhile hasn’t won again since, but was runner-up to the Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua who she will also meet again in The Everest field in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) during ‘The Championships’.
This campaign English had had two runs and looks on the improve possibly ready to peak third-up.
First-up she was fourth past the post beaten just under two lengths by the aforementioned Snitzel gelding Redzel in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m).
She raced again on Epsom Handicap Day a fortnight back and was impressive late closing hard for her close second to In Her Time in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m).
Jockey Blake Shinn continues his association with English on Saturday and Bott said plans were always to ride her off the pace regardless of the gate.
“We know her racing pattern now and that won’t change a huge amount,” Bott said.
“When she is allowed to switch off and relax she has got that brilliant turn of foot so that’s her real asset – her acceleration. If she can conserve energy, she is more brilliant at the finish.
“The tactics are always difficult though. The further back you get the more luck in running you need.
“You need the pace to be on as well so a lot of things need to go in your favour but we saw first up she was a little bit exposed, and there was a certain element of fitness too, but she looks a lot more brilliant when she gets a kinder run.
“She probably just peaked on her run the last 50m [in the Premiere Stakes] so there was certainly improvement to come out of that and I think we’ve seen that in between races.”
Shinn confirmed race tactics after admitting a touch of disappointment in the extreme outside barrier.
“We will ride her quiet,” Shinn told the media following The Everest barrier draw.
“They are going to go very fast.
“Ideally I would have drawn in a little bit more to slot in front of three or four and we still might be able to do that as the race unfolds.
“English has a devastating sprint and we will be riding her to her strengths.
“Hopefully they overdo it in front and we are the last one on the scene.
“I think she is going great and she has improved each run.
“The Everest has been the ultimate goal this preparation and Gai and Adrian have her absolutely spot-on for this weekend’s race.”
The latest The Everest 2017 odds at Ladbrokes.com.au list English at $9 for the win with She Will Reign ($4.60) dominating the markets after coming up trumps with barrier two.
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