The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The booking of the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained mare Alcohol Free by Yulong Investments has completed the 12-horse The Everest 2023 field for Saturday’s $20 million showdown at Royal Randwick.
A dozen of the best sprinters from around the country face off in the seventh edition of the world’s richest turf race on the weekend in Sydney.
Imported No Nay Never mare Alcohol Free, a $10.6 million purchase from the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in Europe, was the last horse to secure a start in the six-furlong event.
“We’re thrilled that Alcohol Free is running in the green and white in the upcoming Everest,” Yulong’s Operations Manager, Sam Fairgray, told the media this week.
“She embodies the world-class performance that Mr Zhang has built the Yulong brand to represent.
“We are confident that she will offer an excellent opportunity for us in the race, upholding Yulong’s successful history in The Everest.”
Yulong won The Everest in 2018 with Redzel for the horse’s second success in the now world-class slot race.
Alcohol Free is one of two representing trainers Waterhouse & Bott who also have Hawaii Five Oh racing for Aquis.
The four-time Group 1 winning mare will be ridden second-up by last year’s The Everest winning jockey Craig Williams after finishing fourth in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at The Everest track and trip on September 30.
“Alcohol Free is quite simply the most exciting mare to come to Australia,” co-trainer Gai Waterhouse said.
“We are delighted that she has gained at start in the race, ridden by Craig Williams, who of course is already a winner of the race.
“It was a good run in the Premiere Stakes, and she really needed that to take the edge off her freshness. I believe she is absolutely spot on now.
“Yulong have become a major player in the Australian breeding and racing scene, Adrian and myself are very excited that she can represent Yulong in their silks and in their slot.”
Stablemate Hawaii Five Oh also contested the Premiere Stakes with the progressive I Am Invincible four-year-old extremely brave when only just beaten a nostril flare by Think About It right on the line.
Think About It (Newgate Farm & GPI Racing) is battling for favouritism with Peter Moody’s runner I Wish I Win (Trackside) in The Everest betting this year.
The son of So You Think is one of two in the mix for trainer Joe Pride who also has last year’s runner-up Private Eye (Max Whitby & Neil Werrett) back looking to go one better than his second to Giga Kick in 2022.
Al Maher six-year-old Private Eye won the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) first-up in mid-September and has been kept fresh since ahead of the big one on Saturday.
Think About It meanwhile heads into The Everest having won 10 of his 11 career starts including completing the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup – Stradbroke Handicap double in Brisbane back in the winter.
He made his much-awaited return just saluting as the odds-on elect in the Premiere Stakes which is looking the form race to follow into The Everest.
Trainer Chris Waller has prepared two of the six The Everest champions saluting with then three-year-old Yes Yes Yes in 2019 before his 2021 victory with heroic sprint star Nature Strip.
Waller is back with two The Everest horses in 2023 including forgotten Snitzel colt Shinzo.
The three-year-old is the second Golden Slipper winner to contest The Everest and has been on the drift in betting since resuming with a ninth to stablemate Militarize in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m).
The team remain full of confidence however as Shinzo looks to become the third three-year-old The Everest winner joining Yes Yes Yes (2019) and last year’s champ Giga Kick (2022) who misses out on a title defence shelved for the spring with injury.
The filly She Will Reign meanwhile is the other Golden Slipper winner to run in an Everest field when unplaced in the inaugural edition behind Redzel in 2017.
The other Waller-trained contender this spring is Group 1 winning Extreme Choice mare Espiona (Chris Waller Racing) who took out the Group 2 Golden Pendant last start.
She is sweating on a good gate ahead of Tuesday evening’s The Everest barrier draw with an inside alley crucial to her chances.
Alcohol Free and Espiona are joined by In Secret (Godolphin) as the female gallopers out to be the first mare to win The Everest.
Dual Group 1 winning I Am Invincible four-year-old In Secret races in The Everest third-up but fresh with her last start being a fourth only one length off Private Eye in The Shorts.
James Cummings is another dually-represented trainer in the race also set to start Exceed And Excel colt Cylinder (James Harron Bloodstock) who was second to Shinzo in Sydney’s Golden Slipper back in March.
This prep Cylinder won back-to-back races including the Group 2 Run To The Rose before finishing a neck third in a blanket finish to the Golden Rose.
Along with Waller the other trainers chasing a third The Everest trophy are Peter & Paul Snowden who claimed the opening two editions with dual champ Redzel (2017, 2018).
Team Snowden have Mazu (The Star & Arrowfield) in the mix as an outsider in betting after he missed the Premiere Stakes due to minor lameness.
The other The Everest contenders in 2023 are the Bjorn Baker-trained $4 million The Quokka winner Overpass (ATC & RAM Racing) who ran sixth last year and the Matthew Smith-trained Supido stallion Buenos Noches (TAB).
The Everest 2023 barrier draw took place on Tuesday evening and has been updated below with I Wish I Win drawing the inside alley in a blow for favourite backers.
2023 The Everest Final Field, Jockeys & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||1151x231x3||I WISH I WIN (NZ)||Peter G Moody & Katherine Coleman||Luke Nolen||1||58.5kg||116|
|2||1217x405x1||PRIVATE EYE||Joseph Pride||Nash Rawiller||9||58.5kg||115|
|3||1111x111x1||THINK ABOUT IT||Joseph Pride||Sam Clipperton||5||58.5kg||115|
|4||232x5363x9||MAZU||Peter & Paul Snowden||Tommy Berry||11||58.5kg||113|
|5||26690x12x2||OVERPASS||Bjorn Baker||Joshua Parr||2||58.5kg||112|
|6||6123x57x13||BUENOS NOCHES||Matthew Smith||Dylan Gibbons (a)||8||58.5kg||110|
|7||9x22113x62||HAWAII FIVE OH||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||James McDonald||10||58.5kg||110|
|8||x34913x0x4||ALCOHOL FREE (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Craig Williams||7||56.5kg||115|
|9||21x1317x24||IN SECRET||James Cummings||Zac Purton||12||56.5kg||115|
|10||40x6117x21||ESPIONA||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||3||56.5kg||111|
|11||3211×9||SHINZO||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||6||53kg||104|
|12||2x1127x113||CYLINDER||James Cummings||Zac Lloyd (a)||4||53kg||101|
|13e||9x30236x33||BELLA NIPOTINA||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||0||56.5kg||112|
|15e||6x114624x2||KING OF SPARTA||Peter & Paul Snowden||0||58.5kg||108|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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