From hunter to hunted: Redzel chasing Darley Classic crown in return to carnival | video

GET ON RED: Kerrin McEvoy celebrates after piloting Redzel to a win in the Everest, he's hoping he'll have this feeling again in Saturday's Darley Classic. Photo: AAP/DAVID MOIR
GET ON RED: Kerrin McEvoy celebrates after piloting Redzel to a win in the Everest, he's hoping he'll have this feeling again in Saturday's Darley Classic. Photo: AAP/DAVID MOIR

It was only a year ago Redzel didn't even pocket $100,000 for connections – including former Orange City cricketers Frank Weymouth and Stu Milne – when winning at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup carnival, yet the celebrated sprinter returns to the four-day carnival as the fastest horse in the land this weekend.

The inaugural winner of the $10 million The Everest – which is due to increase its prizemoney to as much as $15 million by 2020 – has morphed from the hunter to the hunted when he starts favourite in the $1 million Group One Darley Classic (1200m) on Saturday.

Having had his career earnings skyrocket to more than $7 million courtesy of a history-making win at Randwick last month, Redzel is suddenly the star attraction at the finale of the Flemington extravaganza.

The Everest rivals Vega Magic, Chautauqua, Redkirk Warrior and Clearly Innocent are all lining up for another showdown with Redzel as Sydney Stakes heroine In Her Time, runner-up Impending and Group One winner Malaguerra are added to the mix.

Yet none of them fazes the father-and-son training team of Peter and Paul Snowden, who immediately circled the Darley Classic as Redzel's next assignment after The Everest.

"We run our own show, that’s the best part about this horse," Paul said.

"It's a unique situation to have a sprinter with these capabilities. He can run on wet or dry, barriers are not an issue and nothing affects his racing pattern. That's why he's been so consistent over the last 18 months."

Redzel hasn't been beaten since his stablemate Russian Revolution scrambled home on a bog track in The Galaxy during the autumn carnival, stringing together five-straight wins.

Given his straight track experience at Flemington no one is doubting whether he can make it six.

Blake Shinn's daring ride in the Mumm Stakes on Oaks day last year when he hugged the outside fence – just edging Darley Classic contender Terravista – was seen as the catalyst for Redzel's purple patch of form, which has shown no signs of slowing since.

"He wasn't a different horse, but we saw a massive change in him when we got him down and prepared him for that run in the 10 days he was there," Snowden said.

"He just started to thrive and it was the turning point, just the let-him-be-happy scenario – and that's been replicated on race-day.

"I don't know if he has to be better (to win the Darley Classic), but if he turns up in the same frame of mind (he will be hard to beat). He's an easy-going horse and you've just got to keep him happy.

"Fitness-wise he's in extremely good order. You've only got to have a look at him in the skin, his coat is glowing. Everything about him suggests he's going well.

"We had a sneaky little canter down there the other week just to refresh him. He's a good straight horse and hopefully that's enough. He just turns up and gets the job done and hopefully he does that on Saturday."

Kerrin McEvoy will retain the ride on Redzel, who was a commanding $3.80 favourite with Sportsbet on Thursday. Vega Magic ($4.80), Chautauqua ($6), In Her Time ($8) and Impending were the only other runners under double figures.