Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
The prospect of a heavy Randwick track on Saturday for the running of the 2018 $13m The Everest (1200m) is the unknown factor for the Aidan O’Brien trained Irish sprinter U S Navy Flag.
U S Navy Flag is the only internationally trained sprinter in the twelve horse field for the second running of The Everest and even though he has won on soft tracks in Ireland and England, Coolmore’s Tom Magnier is uncertain how the three times Group 1 winner will handle a heavy surface this weekend.
U S Navy Flag went through his paces at the Canterbury Park quarantine centre on a heavy course proper on Tuesday morning and Magnier said that U S Navy Flag appeared to handle the wet conditions okay in his gallop.
“We’ve been a little bit worried about the ground with all the rain we’ve had,’’ Magnier told Racing New South Wales News Desk.
“He appeared to handle the ground this morning but we don’t want a lot more rain.’’
The Randwick track was rated a heavy 8 on Tuesday after receiving 68.6mm of rain in the last seven days.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien’s foreman Andrew Murphy said U S Navy Flag was a relaxed track worker but fires up on race day and is looking forward to seeing him take on the cream of the Australian sprinters.
“He always has been a casual worker but he is a different horse when he gets to the races so Saturday should brighten him up,’’ Murphy said.
“He was a very impressive July Cup winner, he’s without doubt one of the best sprinters in Europe.’’
“He usually likes to run to the front but there is a hell of a lot more speed in races in Australia than at home in Europe.’’
“We know we have a big task ahead of us taking on the Australian horses, we know the best sprinters come from here, and we will learn a lot.
“It’s hard for anyone to get a confident read on the race, it’s more open than it was last year but that’s the excitement around it.’’
U S Navy Flag is the winner of three Group 1 races which includes his last start win in the Group 1 £500,000 Darley July Cup (6 furlongs) at Newmarket in England on July 14.
The War Front colt’s other Group 1 wins were also at Newmarket in 2017 in the £213,500 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (6 furlongs) and in the £500,000 Darley Dewhurst Stakes (1408m).
Top English jockey Ryan Moore will fly out on Thursday to team up with U S Navy Flag again in The Everest.
The barrier draw for the $13 million sprint will be conducted tonight (Tuesday) on the foreshores of Circular Quay in Sydney with The Everest trophy, barrier numbers and jockey silk colours beamed on to the Opera House sails.
The final twelve runners for The Everest 2018
|#||Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||11x2124x15||REDZEL||G||6||Peter & Paul Snowden||1||58.5kg||118|
|2||110x45291x||U S NAVY FLAG (USA)||H||4||Aidan O’Brien||2||58kg||117|
|3||x6x0311x51||SANTA ANA LANE||G||6||Anthony Freedman||3||58.5kg||116|
|4||x74232x172||LE ROMAIN||G||6||Kris Lees||4=||58.5kg||115|
|5||0x14311x34||TRAPEZE ARTIST||H||4||Gerald Ryan||4=||58.5kg||115|
|6||11257x8x14||VEGA MAGIC||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||4=||58.5kg||115|
|7||x112x139x3||IN HER TIME||M||6||Kris Lees||7=||56.5kg||114|
|10||531270×332||BRAVE SMASH (JPN)||H||6||Darren Weir||10||58.5kg||112|
|11||1x1230x214||HOME OF THE BRAVE (IRE)||G||7||James Cummings||11||58.5kg||111|
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