The Everest Tips - Who will win $13 million showpiece?

  • And the numbers for Saturday’s $13 million lottery are?
Ben Melham on Santa Ana Lane (L) wins the Premiere Stakes at Royal Randwick

The build up towards Saturday’s $13 million The Everest (1200m) has dominated racing headlines for months.

There have been plenty of twist and turns along the way, but the final field and barrier draw has been declared and it’s game on as Royal Randwick hosts the world’s richest race on turf.

Randwick was rated a Soft 7 on Wednesday, and with rain expected in each day leading up to Saturday’s main event, we’re likely to see the field of 12 speedsters slug it out on a Heavy surface – and it’s a pity Chautauqua won’t be there to revel in the conditions.

A special mention must go to trainer Kris Lees who has three runners in the field as well as the first emergency – and while I’m not tipping one of Lees’ trio on top, it wouldn’t surprise to see Le Romain run a big race at big odds. 

Last year’s Trifecta of Redzel, Vega Magic and Brave Smash are back for another tilt, but unlike the inaugural running of The Everest which was on a Good 3, conditions are completely different this time around. 

With almost every runner being geared towards The Everest before their current campaigns began, I think it’s irrelevant to analyse peak patterns as every trainer would have meticulously planned to have their horses peaking on Saturday.

So, with that in mind, the real points of analysis should revolve around current form, record at the track and distance, barriers, jockeys and how each runner will handle the Heavy track. 

Looking at recent form at the track and distance, it’s hard to go past the fact Santa Ana Lane broke the Randwick 1200m record last start when winning the Premier Stakes in 1:07.45.

He was second-up from a spell and clearly has upside, and considering he’s a three-time Group 1 winner already, the win was certainly no fluke. 

He also came up the inside to claim In Her Time and hold off stablemate Shoals, and with only one other horse (Maximus) winning along the inside on the day, I think it adds to the performance as horses swooping three to six wide seemed to have an advantage. 

When it comes to big-race riders, Ben Melham is arguably going better than anybody at the moment.

Since September 15, Melham has ridden in 10 Group races and returned five wins and a 3rd placing, and the four unplaced rides were on horses at odds of $10, $101, $51 and $21 – hardly top winning chances. 

Barrier 9 poses no problem for Santa Ana Lane as he’s likely to go back and look for cover while there’s a bit of hustle and bustle in the front half of the pack, and with Melham riding so well lately, he’s the man to steer a clear path home. 

The Heavy track also poses no problem for Santa Ana Lane as he won the Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) on a Soft 6 and then created history to back-up and win the Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) on a Heavy 8. 

While most of the focus in the Goodwood was on Vega Magic needing to break a century-long hoodoo to carry 59kg to victory, the fact Santa Ana Lane won with 58.5kg seemed to go unnoticed. 

He’s carried a stack more weight than the placegetters in his past two Group 1 wins, and he now boasts a track record at Randwick over 1200.

He’s a brave horse that will take gaps when they appear, and he’s the horse they all have to beat on Saturday.

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The Everest Tips - Who will win $13 million showpiece?

The build up towards Saturday’s $13 million The Everest (1200m) has dominated racing headlines for months.

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