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Inaugural The Everest champion Redzel has been specifically set for an autumn Grand Final in Saturday’s TJ Smith Stakes 2018 as connections look to secure a slot in this year’s edition of the world’s richest race on turf.
Last spring the Peter & Paul Snowden won the Restricted $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick for James Harron who chose the son of Snitzel to fill his $600,000 slot in the country’s newest super race.
The plan all along this time in for the Triple Crown-raced Redzel has been to secure his title as Australia’s leading sprinter and secure a position in this year’s edition of The Everest that has had a prize money increase to $13 million.
“Every decision we make we sit down and work backwards from The Everest,” Triple Crown director Chris Ward told Racing NSW this week.
“We’re about picking our grand finals, for this prep it was the TJ.
“We bypassed a couple of Group 1s down south which we thought were probably on the easier side but that was for the betterment of his chances in the TJ.”
The Group 1 $2.5 million Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) takes place at Royal Randwick on Saturday over the same track and distance as The Everest.
Due to run as Race 8 of 10 on a bumper Day 1 card for ‘The Championships’, the weight-for-age feature originally drew 14 hopefuls but is down to a dozen after the two widest-drawn runners Missrock (13) and Showtime (14) were scratched.
Redzel in gate six with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle dominates TJ Smith Stakes betting at $2.35 through Ladbrokes.com.au, the five-year-old boasting the best Win (52%) and Place (78%) rates in the field.
He was last seen posting his 12th career win at start number 23 in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes on March 10.
That was a return to winning form after his last stride loss when run down by Flemington specialist Redkirk Warrior in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) first-up in Melbourne.
Prior to that Redzel won six races on the trot, including two elite level victories taking out Brisbane’s Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) last May and the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“We didn’t think we’d end up with him at the sale, we thought he’d sail past where we were financially,” Ward added.
“I guess we got lucky. You want to keep them as a colt, especially when they have plenty of potential.
“But he went off the boil and wasn’t converting. We knew we had a talented horse but ultimately we weren’t going to see the best of him.
“The saving grace is the amount of prizemoney available to these horses, especially with The Everest.”
Redzel was a $120,000 purchase from the 2014 Gold Coast Yearling Sale and has to date amassed over $8.2 million in prize money.
Success on Saturday will make Redzel the highest-earning sprinter down under.
The title is currently held by triple TJ Smith Stakes winner Chautauqua ($8.8 million) who is in the paddock, missing the chance at an incredible fourth straight success in Saturday’s race after refusing to trial on multiple occasions this time in.
“I’ve admired Chautauqua for years now and to think we’ve got a horse that has gone past,” Ward said.
“Redzel is the new top sprinter, you’ve got to pinch yourself to think you’re involved in a horse like that.
“We space his races and I think that will give us a lot of longevity. He’s the perfect racehorse.”
All-in The Everest odds at Ladbrokes.com.au also have Redzel on top at $4.60.
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