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The first official slot in The Everest 2018 field has been confirmed with Gerald Ryan’s TJ Smith Stakes winner Trapeze Artist to represent premier thoroughbred breeding powerhouse Aquis Farm.
Gun three-year-old Snitzel colt Trapeze Artist earned his spot in the world’s richest race on turf, the $13 million Restricted The Everest (1200m), with his win for the punters in last weekend’s Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m).
It was the second Royal Randwick Group 1 sprint win over the older horses for the gun youngster following his two length upset over the inaugural The Everest winner from last spring, Redzel, in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
Now a three-time Group 1 winner having also won the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) over his own kind in September of 2017, Trapeze Artist was possibly stud-bound after his All Aged Stakes triumph.
Owner Bert Vieira however won’t be left wondering, has opting to race on for one more campaign with the $3 million earner who will line-up in The Everest at Randwick on Saturday October 13.
“It’s a once of a lifetime opportunity, I don’t think I’ll get another horse like this,” he told Racing NSW on Tuesday.
“I don’t know how good he is and now we get the upside of racing the horse in the Everest and overseas.
“I don’t want to have any regrets, I don’t want to wonder.
“Gerald [Ryan] kept telling me after I twisted his arm to go to the TJ he’d be a great Everest horse.
“I think beating Redzel helped, if he’d been beaten I might have had a different thought.
“He showed me he wants to race and that he’s not ready to get to the barn. I think the horse is begging to keep going, every time I think of retiring him he wins a Group 1.”
The Aquis The Everest slot position was confirmed filled by Trapeze Artist on Monday night with Vieira having been in talks with their chief exec Shane McGrath for the past two weeks.
“Thanks to Aquis and Shane McGrath for allowing me to use their slot,” Vieira said.
Aquis however have not secured the Trapeze Artist stud deal, Vieira saying deals of around $40 million had been rejected in favour of racing on for The Everest.
“It was tempting in many ways to stand him at stud this spring and I’ve already had a few calls this afternoon from major farms, but I’m getting so much enjoyment out of this horse racing that we’re now going to try and climb Everest!” he told Sky Sports Radio.
An international bid could also be calling for Trapeze Artist.
“His main aim in the spring is The Everest and, depending on quarantine issues, maybe he’ll go to Hong Kong in December,” Vieira said.
“The aim would then be to take him to Royal Ascot next year, but it’s entirely up to the horse.”
It is a true fairy tale for Vieira who chose to keep Trapeze Artist, whose dam Treppes he picked up for $190,000, when the colt failed to reach his $350,000 reserve.
“Australia would love to see him race and the world would love to see him,” the owner continued.
“It’s massive. I’m still on such a high from the last two months. I’ve hardly slept but I can get some sleep later.”
It is the second time Aquis will attempt to win The Everest having had Toby Edmonds’ Gold Coast-trained filly Houtzen run three lengths back seventh in the race last year.
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