Who will fill the final Everest slot?
Max Whitby and Niel Werrett are the only slot holders yet to select a horse. With the race only 23 days away, we take a look at the top chances yet to make the field.
Returned in cracking style when running Nature Strip to within 0.1L in the G2 McEwen over 1000m. Physically she looked better than ever prior to that run and is proven over 1200m (7th in last year’s Everest in unideal conditions). She sustained a larger mid-race squeeze than Nature Strip last start and has far more upside. Considering Nature Strip is a $7 third elect in early markets, I’d much rather be with Houtzen.
The recently imported Japanese galloper has massive wraps from leading trainer Darren Weir but is yet to break through down under. A cracking type, he was last seen running a close third in the G2 Bobbie Lewis at Flemington. He would need to lift his numbers to be a realistic Everest contender. However, this is absolutely possible. Can be forgiven first time down the straight and Weir has said he’s purposefully coming to hand slowly.
After successfully jumping out at Flemington, The Grey Flash will still be required to come out of the gates in an official barrier trial before stewards will consider allowing him to nominate in any race. Considering his part-owner Rupert Legh has already selected Invincible Star for his (and Ingham racing’s) GPI racing slot, the hopes are slim. However, the 3-time TJ Smith (track and distance) winner and 4th place-getter in last year’s Everest is still the best-credentialed horse left. Look no further than his win in the 2017 Darley TJ Smith Stakes to see what a wonderfully talented horse he is.
Smart Melody ($51*)
The unbeaten 3yo filly would really create some interest if she does make the field. Won the Listed Cap D’Antebes with ease last start over 1100m down the Flemington straight. The Everest would be a massive step up in class, but it would not be the first time this daughter of Smart Missile took on the older horses having demolished a BM74 field at Wyong first-up this prep.
Jungle Cat ($51*):
Makes his Australian debut this weekend in the G1 Sir Ruper Clark Stakes over 1400m for Charlie Appleby. Having won the G1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai over 1200m last start, the 7yo comes to our shores in career best form. Should he win this weekend with any sort of ease, he’ll rocket into Everest contention. If you like him on Saturday a peanut on him at the $51 wouldn’t go astray.
In what is not a vintage crop of 3yo’s for 2018, this galloper could prove the best. Stunning first-up when winning the San Domenico over 1100m at Rosehill by 2.5L in quick time, the unlucky when caught wide in the Run to the Rose. He’ll be going around a warm favourite in this weekend’s Golden Rose and with last year’s winner Trapeze Artist still holding early favouritism, a win would have to see him in contention.
Home of the Brave: ($13*)
The betting says he has almost been given a slot already. Having won the G2 Theo Marks over 1300m almost untouched by 2L last start, it’s easy to see why. Another one lining up in the G1 Sir Rupert Clark this weekend, a win there would have this gelding not only top seed to round out the field but hard in the betting as well.