Orange’s Frank Weymouth labelled Redzel’s magical win in the inaugural Everest, at the time worth $10 million, last year “the most incredible experience” he’s ever been involved in, but that could well be eclipsed if things go to plan in Saturday’s second running.
Weymouth is one of several central west-based part-owners of the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained six-year-old, all of whom will make the trip to Royal Randwick this weekend to watch their charge attempt to go back-to-back.
He’s a real chance too, but the difference this year is the fact The Everest’s prizemoney has been jacked up to $13 million, and it was already the world’s richest turf race before that.
“Who knows what will happen if he gets up again, we certainly had a big celebration last year,” Weymouth laughed, with Orange’s Greg Fletcher, Adam Cornish and Kevin Tandy along with Parkes’ Scott Rayner and Stuart Milne all among the star sprinter’s connections too.
“We haven't really put much thought into it though, we are realistic. The field this year has a lot more quality than last year so we’ll hope, we’re certainly all backing the big boy.
“A lot of people wrote him off after his last start in the Premiere Stakes but the Snowdens will have him cherry ripe, this is his grand final.”
Weymouth’s the first to admit he and his fellow central west owners are small players compared to some of Redzel’s owners, but there’s little doubt the big gelding’s been good to all of them during his 27-start career.
He’s roared to 13 wins and another seven placings since debuting saluting on debut at Warwick Farm back in March of 2015, including a few Group 1 victories, and has claimed almost $9 million in prizemoney as a result.
“I never dreamed he would be this successful, I’ve been very blessed because the boys have had a crack with a few that haven’t been that great but this is my first involvement,” Weymouth said.
I never dreamed he would be this successful, I’ve been very blessed because the boys have had a crack with a few that haven’t been that great but this is my first involvement.Frank Weymouth
“But really it’s just about having a good time with some mates, that’s the main thing.”
All that’s not bad for an orphan foal – Redzel is from Group 3 winner Millrich, a daughter of Cox Plate winner Rubiton, which died in 2012 three weeks after producing the Snitzel colt.
Redzel, which undeniably stellar pedigree, only survived because a foster mare was found for him.
Although the market cooled on him after he drifted out of the placings in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes a few weeks ago, which was dubbed a mini-Everest, Redzel still looks on track.
The recent rain – at time of publication the Randwick track was rated a heavy 9 – should work in his favour considering he has wet track form, and with Kerrin McEvoy on board again he’s drawn the inside lane.
"I'd rather one than 12," McEvoy said after the barrier draw.
"It's the shortest way home. He worked well [on Tuesday] morning and the rain around certainly works in his favour.
"When the gates open, we'll just have to see what happens to our outside, but we definitely have the speed to take up a forward position if not lead."
“To my eye he is going as well as he was last year and fingers crossed he’ll be thereabouts again,” Peter Snowden said.
“I’ve been really impressed with how he has come on since the Premiere. He bounced out of that race and worked really well in his final gallops this week. I’ve never had him better.
“He needs to jump well but he’s normally very quick out of the barriers. It’s a good asset of his.
VIDEO: Redzel bolts to victory last year ...
“We’ll see how the race works out, but barrier one should get us a good run in a forward position.
“He’ll handle the wet. He’s very versatile like that so the rain doesn’t bother us.”
Redzel remains the pre-race favourite sitting at $7, with the market showing last year’s runner-up Vega Magic ($7.50), Anthony Freedman’s Shoals ($7.50), Gerald Ryan’s Trapeze Artist ($8) and Aidan O’Brien’s Irish chance US Navy Flag ($8.50) as the other big threats.
The Everest jumps at 4.15pm at Randwick and is the seventh race on the card, with the $1.3 million, country-restricted Kosciuszko running earlier in the day at 2.50pm.
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