With the dust barely settled over America’s Pegasus World Cup sweepstakes race, Racing NSW has dropped a bombshell by announcing Australia’s own version is to be run this Spring.
‘The Everest’ is a brand new, $10 million sprint race to be run under sweepstakes entry rules – there’s twelve spots available for a fee of $600,000 each.
It’s a 1200m sprint and will be run under weight-for-age conditions.
$10 million makes it the richest turf race in the world, and easily surpasses the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup. It trails behind the Pegasus ($15.9 million) and Dubai World Cup ($13.2 million), both of which are run on dirt.
It’s apparently been called ‘The Everest’ because it represents “the summit of thoroughbred racing”. No… not the name we would have chosen either!
Where & When
The Everest will be run at Randwick on Saturday, October 14. It’s a shot across the bows of Victoria’s Spring Carnival by Racing NSW and set to be held on the high-quality Caulfield Guineas Day. That meeting boasts four Group 1 races and is a favourite among the purists, however none of those main events are sprint races: the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes is the premier sprinter’s event on the day at Caulfield.
Timing wise, it’s not a major clash with the Melbourne Spring’s Group 1 sprints. The Manikato Stakes (Moonee Valley) is held on Cox Plate-eve, on Friday October 27th. The Darley Classic is a further two weeks later on Stakes Day at Flemington. This places the three races each two weeks apart, which may provide an attractive campaign for international raiders.
Entry is open to all and costs $600,000. That makes $7.2 million in total stakes, with Racing NSW to tip in a further $2.8 million to round it out to $10 million in prizes. Here’s hoping Racing NSW made sure the fine print precluded a single entity from buying up all 12 spots and having every ticket in the lottery. A guaranteed Group 1 win plus a $2.8m profit for three straight Springs would appeal to a couple of racing heavyweights.
Prizes are as follows:
1st: $5.8 million
2nd: $1.425 million
6th to 12th: $175,000
Entry slots can be purchased by anybody – entrants don’t need to nominate their runners up-front and once their entry is secured, it can be on-sold, leased or split into joint ventures.
A crucial and perhaps troubling caveat is that any entrant in the 2017 race must commit to three years of the event: effectively laying down $1.8 million. That’s a huge outlay, especially considering it’s hard enough to know how potential runners will be placed for the 2017 event, let alone the 2018 and 2019 versions.
Given you need to run in the top three to earn your prizemoney back, there’s many considerations for those interested. Where will my horse be form-wise? What will the competition be? What if there’s three clear standout sprinters, making it nigh-on impossible to crack the podium? The entry can be on-sold, but those factors mean it could be dramatically devalued.
The initial outlay potentially makes it a race for the elites: expect the big stables to get involved, such as Godolphin, China Horse Club and more locally, Chris Waller’s operation.
Racing NSW hopes to attract international runners. The timing makes it a little difficult for European runners, so Asia is the likely overseas recruiting ground.
In any case, few sprinters worldwide are as good as Australia’s anyway, so expect our elite types such as Malaguerra, Chautauqua, Star Turn, Astern, Fell Swoop, Extreme Choice and Flying Artie to all be in the conversation. Early reactions from those connections have been mixed, with the high risk of the entry fee and the lure of stud riches meaning the owners have a few things to consider.
The most important factor for us!
At the moment, it’s hard to see how the form for this race will differ much to others, making it a similar punting proposition to current high-profile sprint races.
One potential factor is a number of international raiders. As we’ve seen with major Cups races in recent years, this can make it very difficult to line up the form properly and find a winner.
Until the field becomes a little clearer, that’s about all we know.