By Ray Hickson
Seasoned sprinter Trekking still has to prove to trainer James Cummings that he’s worthy of a third shot at the TAB Everest despite the widely held belief that he’s Godolphin’s top seed.
The seven-year-old, who ran third in the 2019 Everest and fourth last year, takes on Nature Strip in the Group 3 $160,000 TAB Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on Saturday in a prime opportunity to press his case.
Cummings, speaking on SEN Track on Thursday morning, said Godolphin has the luxury of being able to choose one of their own for the slot and as in previous years is happy to see how things play out.
“The best credentialed sprinter will rise to the surface, there might even be a couple for us to choose from and that would be an enviable position for us to be in,’’ Cummings said.
“Ultimately we’d like to see our best chance go to the race but we have other goals with our horses too.
“Trekking has a lot to do to prove he should be taking the slot but so do others. He’s our highest rated sprinter and we can go from there.”
The Group 1 winning sprinter missed the autumn, having travelled to Perth last summer, and while he wasn’t placed in his three starts in Brisbane his longest beaten margin was 1.4 lengths.
Cummings said it was always the plan to have a short bridging preparation with a view to “a really important” spring.
“He’s up and about and feeling good and I feel that he’s demonstrating the positive qualities of a horse who has had a brief campaign last time in,’’ he said.
“We restricted him to three starts and that seems to have invigorated him somewhat, to give plenty of life to the horse and he seems to me to be quite bubbly and ready to go.”
While Nature Strip dominates the TAB betting for the Concorde, Trekking was $6 on Thursday, the Godolphin charge has proven in the past that he can be effective at the short course when fresh.
He’s never won at 1000m but he’s only tried it twice, in the past two editions of the Moir Stakes around Moonee Valley.
Kerrin McEvoy, who won three straight Concordes on Redzel, rides Trekking as he did when third in a recent Hawkesbury trial.
“He’s in pretty good shape. He won’t be completely wound up yet but we think he is going nicely and we have him spot on to run a good race fresh up,’’ Cummings said.
“It’s going to be a pretty solid test. He was second in a Moir 12 months ago fresh up and I can see him running a similar sort of positive race first-up this preparation.”