At Flemington in Melbourne, imported UK-bred 7YO gelding Redkirk Warrior (Notnowcato-Flag, by Selkirk) continued his freakishly strong form down the famous Flemington "straight six" for Hayes, Hayes & Dabernig in winning the $1.25 million Gr1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) for the second year in succession, defeating Brave Smash and Merchant Navy. Leading the outside division for the entire race, against his normal swooping pattern, Redkirk Warrior displayed both diversity and courage to become the first horse since Razor Sharp in 1982/83 to achieve the rare back-to-back result. Correct (60/61), Gothic (27/28) and Aspen (1880/81) are the only other sprinters in the history of the Newmarket to do this. Redkirk Warrior was a £22,000 yearling from the draft of Manor House Stud at the 2012 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale (Book 2). His record now stands at 8 wins (including the Gr3 Sundown Stakes, Gr1 Newmarket Handicap & Gr1 Lightning Stakes) & 2 placings (including the Listed Hong Kong Classic Cup) from 17 starts for $2,911,080. It's now likely that Redkirk Warrior will represent Australia at Royal Ascot, most likely via Hong Kong, reports racing.com. Co-trainer Ben Hayes noted: "Talking to the owners, I think they're pretty keen to go travelling. He seems to have pulled up well this morning...and why not? He's done two amazing runs, and I think we can freshen him up and take him overseas now." Hayes added: "There's no [specific] plans set in stone yet. We'll have a big talk on Monday about it. We can go via Hong Kong and then onto England, or we can really freshen him and run him at Royal Ascot."
At Caulfield in Melbourne, 5YO Japanese-bred entire Brave Smash (Tosen Phantom-Tosen Smash, by Tokai Teio) broke through at the highest level with a brilliant win in the $500,000 weight-for-age Gr1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating stable-mate Tosen Stardom & Showtime. Trained by Darren Weir on behalf of a syndicate headed by Australian Bloodstock and Mt Hallowell Stud, Brave Smash improved his record to 4 wins (including the Listed Bendigo Bank Stakes) and 9 placings (including the Listed Regal Roller Stakes) from 20 starts for $2,145,436 in earnings. "It's important that we get results with them because they are very well-bred horses," trainer Darren Weir told racing.com. "Both horses [Brave Smash and Tosen Stardom] have now done it and while it's a huge thrill, it's also a huge relief as well." Weir said Brave Smash will run next in the Gr2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on 17 March before heading to Sydney for the Gr1 Doncaster Mile.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, triple Gr1-winning former English Derby victor & successful Darley shuttler Authorized (Montjeu-Funsie, by Saumarez) celebrated an elite race success when 7YO UK-bred gelding Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) maintained his excellent first-up record when resuming with a slashing win in the $500,000 weight-for-age Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating Single Gaze & Brave Smash. The Godolphin-owned Hartnell improved his record to 12 wins (including the Gr1 The BMW, Gr1 Turnbull Stakes, Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes, Gr2 Hill Stakes, Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes, Gr3 Sky High Stakes & Gr3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket) and 13 placings (including the Gr1 Cox Plate, Gr1 Melbourne Cup, Gr1 Underwood Stakes, Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes, Gr2 Apollo Stakes, Gr1 Ranvet Stakes, Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes & Gr1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud) from 38 starts for $4,766,610 in earnings. Trainer James Cummins said Hartnell could very well now head to Sydney for a clash with champion mare Winx in the Gr1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on 3 March. "I would like to run him in the best race available to him and that might be the Chipping Norton," Cummings told Godolphin.com. "I also like the idea of keeping him fresh, so we'll see how he comes through this win. He's a unique horse...I haven't trained one like him."
Meanwhile, Tosen Stardom's highly regarded stable-mate Brave Smash will be given the opportunity to fulfil his significant potential in the autumn before a potential stud career. Australian Bloodstock's managing director Jamie Lovett told racing.com that there had been significant interest in the Japanese-bred sprinter from stud farms. "We've had some inquiry on him but Darren (Weir) has got a very good opinion of this horse so I'm just going to wait," Lovett said. "Commercially, it's in our best interests to wait as there's a fair bit of upside to the horse and he's only a youngish horse with just four starts here." Lovett is confident that the best is yet to come from Brave Smash (Tosen Phantom-Tosen Smash, by Tokai Teio) who was last seen finishing an unlucky third behind Redzel in $10 million The Everest (1200m) in October. "There's Group form all around him and he just wasn't right the last two runs," he said. "His coat went the wrong way and his bloods were upside down and they say he's spelled amazing so we're looking forward to seeing what he can do." He added: "He's a proper horse. He won a stakes race at a mile in Japan off a brutal pace. Weiry seems to think that he could train him to run 1000 metres or 1600 metres so we'll keep an open mind on him." Lovett said Brave Smash was likely to open his autumn campaign in either the Gr2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on 26 January, or the Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 10 February.
TAB have opened defending champion Redzel as $8 favourite for the 2018 The Everest (1200m) to be run at Royal Randwick on 13 October, reports racingnsw.com.au. Prize money for next year's Everest, now the richest turf race in the world, will jump from $10 million to $13 million. The Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Redzel has established himself as the pre-eminent sprinter in Australia stringing together six consecutive wins since April, including Gr1 victories in the Darley Classic and Doomben 10,000.
TAB Everest Market
$8 - Redzel
$11 - Chautauqua, Vega Magic
$15 - Menari, Merchant Navy, Winx
$26 - Brave Smash, Clearly Innocent, English, In Her Time, Invincible Star, She Will Reign
$51 - Deploy, Hey Doc, Houtzen, Impending, Nature Strip, Performer, Redkirk Warrior, Terravista, Trapeze Artist, Tulip, Viddora
$101 - Ball of Muscle, Fell Swoop, Formality, Malaguerra, Rock Magic, Sheidel, Spieth
The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Redzel (Snitzel-Millrich, by Rubiton) sent his career earnings soaring when winning the inaugural running of the $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday. The son of Arrowfield's incumbent champion Australian sire Snitzel collected the winner's cheque of $5.8 million for the world's richest turf race to boost his prize money tally to $7,195,250. Redzel benefited from an adroit ride by jockey Kerrin McEvoy to sprint clear at the top of the straight and score a comfortable 0.8 length win over Vega Magic with Japanese-bred sprinter Brave Smash holding on for third. Supporters of runner-up Vega Magic can count themselves a little unlucky after the Lindsay Park-trained speedster was caught wide for the entire race. "What a race to win," McEvoy told Sky Racing. "It is so exciting. It's such a thrill to be part of it. Such a huge buzz…He's [Redzel] a little star." Co-trainer Peter Snowden described winning The Everest as one of the highlights of his illustrious training career. "I can't talk," Snowden told racenet. "I've never experienced anything like this." He added: "Our first Golden Slipper was exceptional, I didn't think I'd ever get that feeling again but today is well past it." Redzel improved his record to 10 wins (including the Gr1 Doomben 10,000, Gr3 Concorde Stakes, Gr3 Hall Mark Stakes, Gr3 Heath Stakes & Listed Fireball Stakes) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 ATC Galaxy Handicap, Gr2 Shorts, Gr2 ATC Challenge Stakes & Gr3 ATC Kindergarten Stakes) from 20 starts for $7,195,250 in earnings. Redzel, who is out of Gr3 Sweet Embrace Stakes winner & Golden Slipper placegetter Millrich, was a $120,000 purchase by Triple Crown Syndications at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Marquee Stud. Remarkably, Redzel's Everest win has practically guaranteed his sire Snitzel of yet another Australian Champion Sire title with his progeny earnings surging past $10 million.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the inaugural running of the world's richest turf race – the $10 million The Everest (1200m) to be held at Royal Randwick racecourse in Sydney this Saturday. A capacity field of 12 sprinters will line up in the race with each horse representing a slot holder. There are four emergencies should there be any scratchings. In the case that any of the 12 horses is withdrawn, the affected slot holder/s will be able to negotiate with the connections of the substitute emergency runner. Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign (barrier 2) is the current $4.60 TAB favourite for the race, ahead of Vega Magic (10) at $5.50, Chautauqua (5) at $6, Redzel (4) at $7, and Redkirk Warrior (3) at $9. All other runners are at double figure odds. Click below to view The Everest field.
Horse (Slot Holder)
Meanwhile, champion UK jockey Jamie Spencer has been booked to ride Japanese-bred sprinter Brave Smash in The Everest on Saturday week, reports Sky Racing. A winner of the Listed Bendigo Bank Stakes (1200m) two starts back, Brave Smash was then slightly disappointing when a beaten favourite in the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) behind Bons Away on 23 September. The Darren Weir-trained Brave Smash will represent slot holder the Australian Turf Club in the inaugural $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on 14 October.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, Bowness Stud's Gr1-winning stallion Bon Hoffa (Belong To Me-Asian Reef, by Manilla) added a black-type success when 4YO bay gelding Bons Away (Bon Hoffa-Villa Albani, by Mossman) registered his maiden takes victory when storming home from near last in the $120,000 Listed Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating Brave Smash & Fast 'N' Rocking. Bons Away improved his record to 5 wins and 2 placing from 9 starts for $140,090 in earnings.
The connections of Brave Smash are confident the former Japanese galloper is still a leading contender for The Everest despite his loss at Caulfield on Saturday. The Darren Weir-trained Brave Smash was sent out as the dominant $1.65 favourite in the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) but was gunned down by the progressive Ciaron Maher-trained Bons Away. “I wasn’t really unhappy with the run. If you watch the run again, he didn’t have the kindest run and everyone saw that, but I think he is going to be a horse who will appreciate blinkers,” Australian Bloodstock’s Luke Murrell told ANZ Bloodstock News. “He got to the eventual winner and wanted to run with him and look at him after the post. He has almost stopped when the jockey eases up on him. That is his major issue, but we knew that going into the race on Saturday.” Murrell added: “He will have blinkers on and a properly run 1200 metres in The Everest, which will be right up his alley.” Brave Smash will represent slot holder the Australian Turf Club in the inaugural $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on 14 October.
At Moonee Valley in Melbourne, 5YO Japanese entire Brave Smash (Tosen Phantom-Tosen Smash, by Tokai Teio) claimed his maiden Australian victory when holding on for a narrow win in the $120,000 Listed Bendigo Bank Stakes (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating El Divino & Revolving Door. Trained by Darren Weir on behalf of a syndicate headed by Australian Bloodstock and Mt Hallowell Stud, Brave Smash improved his record to 3 wins and 6 placings (including the Listed Regal Roller Stakes) from 15 starts for $971,836 in earnings. Despite the unconvincing nature of the win, Weir said the best was yet to come from Brave Smash. "I would've liked to see him run through the line and run away from them a bit better but he won and you can't do much more than that," Weir told racing.com. "We know there is quite a bit to come because he's very well in himself and we're a fair way off being at the bottom of him so we might just have to up the ante a little bit if we're going to go to bigger and better things." Connections have previously nominated the inaugural $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on 14 October as a target for Brave Smash.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, French 2000 Guineas & French Derby-winning shuttler Lope De Vega (Shamardal-Lady Vettori, by Vettori) celebrated a stakes success when 5YO gelding Vega Magic (Lope de Vega-Admirable, by Magic Albert) saluted for trainers David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) by 0.4-length, defeating Japanese bred Brave Smash and Santa Ana Lane. Vega Magic remains unbeaten since leaving his home state of West Australia. Vega Magic, who hails from the family of Golden Slipper winner Century Miss, advanced his record to 11 wins (including the Gr1 Goodwood Stakes, Gr3 Colonel Reeves Stakes & Gr3 AJ Scahill Stakes) and 3 placings from 16 starts for $1,424,550 earnings. There is speculation that the WA star could be tapped for a spot in The Everest following a crack in the Memsie Stakes in two weeks. According to horseracing.com.au, co-trainer David Hayes commented, "He will be freshened up [after the Memsie] and hopefully somebody wants him for The Everest."
Former Japanese galloper Brave Smash (Tosen Phantom-Tosen Smash, by Tokai Teio) could make his Australian debut in Saturday's Gr3 Aurie's Star (1200m) at Flemington, reports racing.com. "We are going to nominate Brave Smash and we'll just enter him and see what it looks like before we decide whether to accept or not," said trainer Darren Weir's racing manager Jeremy Rogers. "He jumped out the other morning and we feel he's now ready to go but there's the Regal Roller [Listed Regal Roller Stakes] the following week or even a benchmark race the week after so there are a few options for us at this stage and nothing's been set in stone." A stakes winner and Gr2-placed in his homeland, Brave Smash was purchased and syndicated by Australian Bloodstock earlier this year.