The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Godolphin’s returning Newmarket Handicap winner Bivouac is the best-fancied of the potential The Everest-bound sprinters facing off at Royal Randwick in Saturday’s The Shorts 2020 field.
One of the key support acts on the George Main Stakes Day card in Sydney, this season’s Group 2 $500,000 The Shorts (1100m) field features a class line-up of 12 short-distance gallopers.
Drawn the outside barrier with Hugh Bowman to ride is the race favourite Bivouac, the James Cummings-trained Exceed And Excel entire making his four-year-old debut.
Bowman chases his fifth The Shorts win since 2001 having enjoyed previous success aboard: Empire (2002, Bentley Biscuit (2006), Pampelonne (2012) and that year’s inaugural The Everest champion Redzel (2017).
The world’s richest turf race, Randwick’s $15 million The Everest (1200m) takes place on October 17 and is the hopeful target for The Shorts runners chasing a slot in the 12-horse showdown including Bivouac.
A winner of six of his 16 starts to date including Sydney’s Golden Rose this time last year, the bay is best known for his Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) success down the straight at Flemington during the autumn.
He was last seen running fifth behind confirmed The Everest hopeful Tofane in Randwick’s Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) on April 18 and is tipped to atone first-up over the shorter distance on Saturday.
Bivouac has won back-to-back Sydney trails leading-up to his highly anticipated campaign kick-off and currently pays $3.90 in The Shorts betting at Ladbrokes.com.au and $12 in all-in The Everest odds.
Success in The Shorts would see him secure the Godolphin slot in The Everest and become the sixth confirmed runner.
“He is an outstanding Group 1-winning colt and every time he steps out, he is putting that reputation on the line,” Cummings told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“He is there to confirm his top ranking for The Everest but meets a very good group of sprinters.
“It is another day where he should stand up from the way he has been trialling.”
Among the key rivals in The Shorts are confirmed The Everest runner Classique Legend ($5) getting his spring underway and the also resuming Standout ($5.50).
Kerrin McEvoy rides Les Bridge’s classy grey Classique Legend first-up on the weekend with the Not A Single Doubt gelding looking to go one better than his second to Pierata in last year’s The Shorts results.
The now five-year-old heads towards a second chance at The Everest glory having run sixth in the 2019 race and was last seen winning the Listed June Stakes (1100m) at Randwick during the winter.
Standout is drawn to get a dream run from barrier four with James McDonald in the saddle, the Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou-trained Exceed And Excel four-year-old chasing his fifth win at start number eight.
He beat home Alizee in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) here first-up in February and is out to atone for his dead last when things went amiss for him in the All Aged Stakes.
Dirty Work is also being kept safe in The Shorts betting at $7 for Hawkes Racing following a first-up third from the consistent Written Tycoon four-year-old in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) a fortnight back behind The Everest-bound Gytrash (1st) and Nature Strip (2nd).
Highly-rated Kiwi galloper Catalyst ($7.50) gets the rails run first-up from barrier one with Glen Boss aboard, while the Joe Pride-trained Eduardo ($7.50) has the fitness edge chasing a third win on the trot.
2020 The Shorts Field
|BALL OF MUSCLE
|Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou
|Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes
|Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes
|Ms Rachel King
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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