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Godolphin’s Stradbroke Handicap winner Trekking has secured the final slot in the $14 million The Everest field in Sydney Saturday week should the impressive Schillaci Stakes winner pull-up through his Caulfield win.
It is a tough task to head up to Sydney on a short seven-day turnaround to fill the ATC / MRC slot in the world’s richest turf race at Royal Randwick, but one trainer James Cummings believes Trekking is capable of.
The Street Cry five-year-old won his way into the $14 million The Everest (1200m) field via his second-up win in the Group 2 $400,000 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) that closed the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Day card in Melbourne.
Trekking jumped favourite in the Schillaci Stakes after his first-up eighth when only 1.65 lengths off Nature Strip – a confirmed The Everest horse in 2019 – in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at The Valley.
He came into winning contention late in the run, charging up through the middle to steal the show from the pacemaker and last year’s winner Ball Of Muscle, while Tony Pike’s multiple Group 1 winning Kiwi The Bostonian ran third.
Nine-year-old Ball Of Muscle led the Schillaci field around containing the speed, with Despatch niggling him along second the fence.
The veteran got off the rails at the 300m, but was quickly approached by the eventual winner Trekking who flew thorough for the win having been given a peach of a ride by Kerrin McEvoy, a two-time The Everest winning hoop on Redzel (2017-18).
McEvoy let the horse relax early before weaving his way through the inside and getting the gaps when needed.
“A great win by this horse,” McEvoy said post-victory.
“It’s nice to see him do that today. He ran well at The Valley over the thousand (metres) and he’s got a good second up record. James had him cherry ripe today.”
When asked about Trekking’s chances in The Everest 2019, McEvoy said there was no doubt the horse lined-up as a winning hope for the third edition of the event.
“No doubt, he’s a horse that’s rated (highly). He’s won a Stradbroke (over 1400m under handicap conditions) and I know it’s weight-for-age but he’s won this (the Schillaci) at weight-for-age,” the hoop said.
“He’s going go there, he’s got a sharp turn of foot, handles a bit of cut in the ground, goes on top of the ground too – so they’ll know he’s there for sure.”
Cummings was a little more conservative and said the team would wait to see how Trekking was in the morning before confirming The Everest run.
“He’s a class horse in a field like this,” Cummings said.
“The horse coming underneath him (McEvoy) like that looked really good today.
“I think he possibly could look really attractive in the (Everest) form guide.
“He’s only second up today. We’ve saved him so would be second-up in the Schillaci and ready to go…we have to be really happy with the way he’s pulled up.
“See how he is in the morning.”
Godolphin also have star mare Alizee in The Everest racing in their slot with Cummings positive about her chances.
“I get the feeling she’s absolutely rearing to go,” he said.
“She’s fresh and feeling good and it will be good to see a high-pressure six-furlong event to see her at her best.”
Pride meanwhile was disappointed with the loss, but there remains a chance for Ball Of Muscle to run in The Everest as Godolphin have until midday Sunday to formally accept the position with Trekking.
|1||2||TREKKING||James Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||–||5||58.5kg||$4F|
|2||1||BALL OF MUSCLE||Joseph Pride||Craig Williams||0.4L||7||58.5kg||$8|
|3||3||THE BOSTONIAN (NZ)||Tony Pike||Damian Lane||0.6L||3||58.5kg||$7|
|4||6||VIRIDINE||James Cummings||Hugh Bowman||1.35L||6||58.5kg||$16|
|5||8||BONS AWAY||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Mark Zahra||2.1L||8||58.5kg||$4.60|
|6||7||ASHLOR||Dan McCarthy||Daniel Stackhouse||2.85L||2||58.5kg||$51|
|7||9||BOOKER||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damien Oliver||4.6L||4||56.5kg||$12|
|8||5||REBEL KING||Darren Mcauliffe||Jamie Kah||4.7L||9||58.5kg||$31|
|9||4||DESPATCH||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||James McDonald||4.8L||1||58.5kg||$4.40|
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