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Reigning Melbourne Cup winning hoop Kerrin McEvoy is understandably excited about the prospect of riding the inaugural 2017 The Everest winner partnering Redzel in the $10 million feature on Saturday.
Australia’s richest race and the world’s most lucrative turf race, the Restricted The Everest (1200m) runs at Royal Randwick this weekend featuring a dozen super sprinters.
One of the best in The Everest betting to take out the $5.8 million winners’ cheque is the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Redzel ($7.50) chasing his fifth win on the trot.
McEvoy, who rode his second Melbourne Cup winner in the country’s previous richest race on board Almandin last spring following his first victory on Brew (2000), reunites with Team Snowden’s The Everest horse on the weekend.
He has partnered the Snitzel five-year-old for four of his 19 career starts to date, three of which he won including most recently the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) first-up at Randwick on September 2.
Redzel had an impressive two lengths to spare over runner-up Spieth that day, despite carting 60kg to the second placegetter’s 57kg.
The galloper was last seen backing-up on September 16 in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m), also run at Randwick, where Redzel enjoyed a win over Ball Of Muscle with Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Bowman rides the Kris Lees-trained Kingsford-Smith Cup winner Cleary Innocent in The Everest field this weekend, while McEvoy is back aboard Redzel.
The hoop put Redzel through his paces in a nice Rosehill trial win over 1000m on October 3 to bring him on for The Everest race, where the horse is drawn a treat in barrier four representing James Harron Bloodstock.
“He’s a happy horse, he’s a relaxed horse and his work on Tuesday morning showed he’s in a good frame of mind,” McEvoy told Racing NSW.
“He switches on when you need him to and he definitely saves his best for race day.
“He’s gone to a new level and I’m pretty excited to be on him.”
A brilliant Randwick performer, Redzel boasts four wins and two other minor placings from seven runs at the track and has a 50% winning strike rate over The Everest distance (4-2-0-0).
He looks set to peak on Saturday and McEvoy said there were plenty of options from barrier four on Saturday.
“You need to have the finger on the pulse in terms of the petrol gauge and how quick you are going,” he said.
“Your decision making influences the speed of the race. It’s a crucial job when you’re on a front runner or a horse that’s up on the pace.
“It’s all about positioning and momentum, and energy use through that first past is going to determine how you finish in the last part.
“It’s crucial to have your thinking cap on during the race and finely in tune with what your horse can and can’t do and what he’s enjoying doing and to try to get him enjoying his racing.
“That’s what my horse has shown he’s doing in the last prep or so.”
That said, McEvoy admitted he could afford to make zero mistakes on race day and that was the pressure of riding in a short-distanced feature as opposed to the staying races he usually prefers to ride in.
“It’s a dynamic race and we’re talking some of the fastest horses in the world,” McEvoy said.
“You have to be on your game and every inch counts is the mindset you need to go out with.
“It’s important to make the right decisions when you’re only talking a minute 10 or a minute nine of your time.”
McEvoy might be famous for his staying race performances, but 14 of his Group 1 wins as a hoop have been in races over 1400m or less including the from-behind win aboard The Everest favourite She Will Reign at The Valley in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) on September 29.
“My preference is probably staying races but I have a good record in sprint trips of late as well,” he said.
“That extra two minutes is a long time when you’re on the back of a horse.”
She Will Reign tops The Everest odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $4.80 after drawing barrier two, Corey Brown coming on for the ride.
Check out the full The Everest 2017 racing odds and offers now at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Randwick Race 8 on Saturday afternoon.
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