Redzel lands world's richest turf race for 'everyday Australians'
Report: Australia, Saturday
Randwick (Sydney): The Everest (conditions race) 6f | turf | 2yo+
A group of syndicate owners described as "everyday Australians" carried off one the most valuable turf prizes in the history of the sport on Saturday when Redzel won the first running of the Everest, the world's richest turf race, in front of a crowd of more than 33,000 at Randwick in Sydney.
Representing the former Godolphin team of jockey Kerrin McEvoy and trainers Peter and Paul Snowden, the five-year-old gelding held off the late run of the favourite Vega Magic by three-quarters of a length to claim the A$10 million (£5.96m) contest.
Jamie Spencer's mount Brave Smash produced a fine effort to finish a short neck away in third, ahead of well-fancied Chautauqua.
On a track favouring front-runners on the rail, 15-2 chance Redzel sat just outside Houtzen before taking command a furlong out in his bright red blinkers and comfortably holding the late swoop of Vega Magic, who came wide against the bias from well off the pace.
"The horse has performed unbelievably today – woohoo!" exclaimed McEvoy, who won so many admirers during a lengthy stint in Britain as Godolphin's second jockey behind Frankie Dettori a decade ago.
"He's a little star, isn't he?" added the rider. "I'm so privileged to be riding these horses for Peter and Paul Snowden, master horsemen, job well done to them. They've been so patient with this fella early in his career and it's paid the dividends now.
"This horse has drawn a good gate, and it couldn't have worked out any better in the run. He had a dream run outside the leader and I'm over the moon.
"It's so exciting to be a part of it, such a huge buzz," McEvoy went on. "My wife's here and the kids are hopefully yelling at the screens at home."
Redzel, a son of top Australian sire Snitzel, went into the Everest on a four-race winning streak for his owners Triple Crown Syndications, who bought him for A$120,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
According to Sydney's Daily Telegraph, brothers Chris and Michael Ward, who run Triple Crown, then syndicated Redzel to "a group of 17 owners from all walks of life", among them policemen, school teachers, a doctor, taxi driver, builder, electrician, pharmacist, a former NSW cricket coach and a security guard.
Now their horse has claimed A$5.8m (£3.45m), the winner's share of a A$10m prize fund bettered only by the Pegasus World Cup and the Dubai World Cup, both of which are run on dirt.
Following a template pioneered by the Pegasus, the world's richest race held in Florida in January, 12 'shareholders' paid A$600,000 (or £355,000) for a place in the Everest starting gate. Redzel occupied the slot held by James Harron Bloodstock, who teamed up with the owners to run the horse.
"It is a dream come true," said Triple Crown's Michael Ward. "There are about 30 people in the horse all up. It is hard to put into words."
Co-trainer Paul Snowden was in emotional mood after the race. "It's a massive thing for the stable," he said. "We've got a very special bond, me and dad. I don't think anyone has what we've got."
Jamie Spencer enjoyed his ride on ex-Japanese-trained outsider Brave Smash, who was just beaten for second in the closing stages.
"It was a huge run," he said. "I had a lovely run round, got the fence after about 100 yards and it was very easy for me after that but the winner was very impressive."
Vega Magic flashed home out wide to snatch second but was never in danger of catching the winner. "He was awesome in defeat," said jockey Craig Williams. "He defied the track pattern but it was an awesome performance from the horse."
The 'Grey Flash' Chautauqua, only recently overtaken by Harry Angel as the highest-rated sprinter in the world, finished with his usual charge from the rear to take fourth but fairytale filly She Will Reign, the bargain buy who won the richly endowed Golden Slipper in March, was a bitter disappointment. Slowly away, she beat only one home and finished 11th of 12.
>>Sydney racing officials were well pleased with the inaugural running of the Everest. "The Everest has captured the imagination of the racing world like no other sporting event in Sydney," claimed Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys.
"The Championships is now firmly established in the autumn and has been highly successful but The Everest has gone to another level attracting world attention in a matter of months.
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