NEIL Werrett, a part-owner of the nation’s most valuable racehorse Ole Kirk, is set to continue his golden spring with top sprinters Trekking and Tofane among the leading chances in the $15 million The TAB Everest at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Werrett has Trekking running in his Everest slot and he’s also in the Tofane ownership group.
But the brilliance of Horse of the Year Nature Strip has Werrett wary ahead of the world’s richest turf race.
“If Nature Strip turns up in his best form, then he is the horse to beat in The Everest,’’ he said.
“But if Nature Strip starts to get tired with about 200m to go then they will be coming at him from everywhere.
“It’s going to be an exciting race.’’
The Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip had been the long-time favourite for The Everest until successive defeats this spring threw the race wide open.
Classique Legend is now the $4.50 TAB Fixed Odds favourite for The Everest with Gytrash pressing at $5 then Nature Strip $6 and Libertini $7 ahead of the all-important barrier draw to be held at Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower on Tuesday evening.
Werrett’s two Everest hopefuls, Trekking ($18) and Tofane ($15), tend to get back in races so the barrier draw is not as crucial to their chances.
“I know Godolphin are very happy with Trekking and he is a proven top-class sprinter,’’ said Werrett, who shares an Everest slot with Max Whitby. “When we were thinking of our Everest horse, we got it down to Trekking or Libertini. At the time, Libertini had not raced this spring and we wanted to lock in our horse so we decided to go with Trekking.
“Tofane is due to have a gallop on Tuesday morning and then (trainer) Mike Moroney will send the mare to Sydney.’’
If either Trekking or Tofane can win The Everest, it would be another big-race triumph for Werrett this spring after Ole Kirk emulated his uncle All Too Hard (2012) and won the Caulfield Guineas last Saturday.
Ole Kirk’s price tag as a stallion prospect is estimated to be as much as $40 million after he completed a rare Group 1 double with successive wins in the Golden Rose and Caulfield Guineas.
Werrett said Ole Kirk will not race again this spring, instead the colt will enjoy a well-earned spell ahead of an autumn campaign that is likely to be his last before retiring to stud. Ole Kirk is also closely related to Werrett’s all-time great sprinter Black Caviar, undefeated winner of all 25 races.
Ole Kirk wins the Caulfield Guineas! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/EhZkcOtN8S
HAWKES RUNNING HOT
TEAM Hawkes had plenty to celebrate on Saturday including a third Caulfield Guineas with Ole Kirk after their previous wins with All Too Hard and Divine Prophet (2016).
The Hawkes stable led in a feature-race double at Caulfield with Dirty Work getting up in the Schillaci Stakes while Zebrowksi ran well for second in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stake and Archedemus was third in the Listed Weekend Hussler Stakes.
At Royal Randwick, the Hawkes stable’s best result was a minor placing with Doubtland in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes.
But the training partnership of Hall of Famer John Hawkes and his sons, Wayne and Michael, produced two promising provincial winners at Kembla Grange with unbeaten English import Pale King scoring at his Australian debut while Born A Warrior showed brilliant acceleration to win his maiden by a big margin.
Dirty Work gets to work in the Schillaci Stakes.
William Pike at his very best. 👊 pic.twitter.com/aeLKOhYJR4
MASTER trainer David Payne isn’t prone to hyperbole but he’s entitled to make an exception with Montefilia, the only filly to complete the Flight Stakes-Spring Champion Stakes Group 1 double.
“Montefilia looks like she could be something special,’’ Payne said on the Big Sports Breakfast Weekend radio show after his filly showed her staying prowess to win the Spring Champion Stakes at Royal Randwick last Saturday.
“I think she will only get better and better. She is still immature, she is very lean. She needs another 50kg on her but that will come with age. She will never be a big, robust filly but she will fill out.
“Mindful of Montefilia’s immaturity, Payne ruled out tackling the ‘boys’ again in the Victoria Derby despite her tough Spring Champion Stakes win.
But Payne confirmed Montefilia is still on target for a race like the Victoria Oaks during Cup Week at Flemington.
“Montefilia is fit and we will do the same as what we did with Ace High (winner of the Spring Champion Stakes and Victoria Derby in 2017),’’ Payne said.
“Ace High didn’t race between Randwick and Flemington, he had a month between runs before he won the Derby. This filly is not a big, robust horse like him so she’ll only need a gallop or two and will be ready for the Oaks.’’
She's made history! Montefilia takes out the Spring Champion Stakes after winning the Flight Stakes last week which no filly has done before! Massive ride from Jason Collett for @DPayneRacing! pic.twitter.com/eLp2VcsCrN
PERTH’S champion jockey Willie Pike said he has no plans to relocate to Melbourne despite having a day out at Caulfield, winning four stakes races including dual Group 1 triumphs on Ole Kirk and Arcadia Queen (Caulfield Stakes).
Pike said he would be happy to travel more to the east coast to ride during the carnivals but reiterated he is “happy with my lifestyle in Perth.’’
One of Pike’s Caulfield winners, Windstorm (Listed Weekend Hussler Stakes) could now be aimed at the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m).
Flit, Alligator Blood and Dawn Passage secured starts in the Golden Eagle with their 1-2-3 finish to the Silver Eagle at Randwick.
Rachel King rode Flit and Criaderas to give Godolphin a double at Randwick during a mixed afternoon.
The talented jockey then had a nasty fall on Choir in the Spring Champion Stakes but she then dusted herself off and completed her riding engagements, just missing out on a treble when Plaquette was narrowly beaten in the last.
King becomes the first female jockey to ride in The Everest this week when she partners Joe Pride’s Eduardo in the big race.
Boilover in the Silver Eagle with Flit too good for them! Another gun ride from @RachelK11 for @godolphin 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/ouJehob7FX
BY RON DUFFICY
RUN OF THE DAY
Montefilia showed great courage backing up from her tough Group 1 win Flight Stakes win seven days earlier and did it again against the boys in the Spring Champion Stakes.
She could still train on as an Oaks prospect this spring and then return as a dominant force next autumn in the staying classics for the fillies.
FORGET THEY RAN
She’s Ideel was a deserved winner after overcoming trouble but Archanna just got held up at a vital stage and went home with a legitimate excuse.
THE BLACK BOOK
Bottega has run enormous without winning at his two runs back from a spell now. On Saturday with 59.5kgs he was driven out of the barrier and was out of his comfort zone, then over-raced only to be held up in the straight.
Considering he wasn’t beaten far by the boom horse Criaderas in fast time carrying 7kgs more he could measure right up in the Golden Eagle at level weights.
RIDE OF THE DAY
Jason Collett has come of age as a jockey now.
He went about riding his winning treble in his usual cool, calm and collected manner and didn’t have a care in the world guiding Montefilia to victory.
Collett goes into the most important week of his career with two high profile rides on Gytrash (The Everest) and It’s Me (The Kosciuszko) and it won’t be nerves that get in his way.
NSW RACING – THE WEEK AHEAD
Today: Gunnedah, Murwillumbah
Tuesday: Newcastle, Queanbeyan
Wednesday: Warwick Farm
Thursday: Kembla Grange
Friday: Bathurst, Taree
Saturday: Royal Randwick, Newcastle, Narromine, Wagga Wagga
Sunday: Lismore, Nowra
Originally published asSpectacular spring rolls on for owner
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