South Australian trainer Gordon Richards believes a win in The Goodwood for his rising sprinter Gytrash should be rewarded with a slot in The Everest.
This year’s Everest is shaping as a changing of the guard for Australia’s sprinting ranks with half of the 2019 field retired from racing, including two-time champion Redzel and last year’s winner Yes Yes Yes.
As few as two starters from last year’s race could return this spring and Richards is hopeful Gytrash will be among the new brigade.
Gytrash is favourite to add another Group 1 win in Saturday’s Goodwood at Morphettville after taking out the Lightning Stakes in February.
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Richards said Gytrash had proved himself at the top level with consistent results and is ready to fill the sprint void.
“On his form I don’t think there’s been many sprinters as consistent as him,” Richards said.
“He’s on the way up and I expect him to improve coming into the spring. Someone should be considering him (for The Everest).”
Nature Strip stamped himself as the benchmark sprinter with a dominant TJ Smith Stakes victory last month and was the first horse snapped up for The Everest, which is scheduled to be run in October.
Slot holders won’t be short of options but there are fewer standouts after Redzel and Yes Yes Yes were joined in retirement by Pierata, Alizee, In Her Time and Irish raider Ten Sovereigns.
West Australian mare Arcadia Queen, who is on the comeback from injuries, is more likely to be targeted at the Cox Plate if she can stay sound, while the performances of Santa Ana Lane and Sunlight in The Goodwood could determine their futures.
Richards said he “couldn’t have Gytrash any better” for The Goodwood and will be happy to hear from slot owners if he won.
“We were keen to have a crack last year (by winning the Schillaci Stakes) but he pulled up a bit sore after (running second in) The Heath and had to go out for a spell,” Richards said.
“That gave us the bug so this year we’d be very keen if someone puts their hand up and wanted to take him.”
Who are the other potential Everest contenders?
Grey gelding Classique Legend is almost certain to be there with owner Bon Ho possessing a slot.
Godolphin trainer James Cummings has earmarked Newmarket Handicap winner Bivouac to represent the stable, which also has unbeaten colt Pinatubo racing in Europe under Charlie Appleby.
Three-year-old filly Loving Gaby has already built a strong Group 1 record against the older horses, Tofane was a rapid improver during the autumn and the connections of Australian Guineas winner Alligator Blood have expressed their interest.
The new horse on the scene is three-year-old colt Masked Crusader, who was added to the Everest market after his three-length romp at Randwick last Saturday.
Golden Slipper winner Farnan and Blue Diamond winner Tagaloa will also be on the radar.
Other hopefuls include Trekking, The Inevitable, Zoutori and Fabergino.
CHRIS VERNUCCIO’S POSSIBLE EVEREST FIELD
Santa Ana Lane
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