By Ray Hickson
It’s okay with co-trainer Gordon Richards if Gytrash is something of a forgotten horse in the lead up to the TAB Everest because he hasn’t forgotten how much the star sprinter loves Sydney.
It was just over a year ago when the six-year-old announced himself as he overpowered Nature Strip to win the Concorde Stakes, then finished a gallant third in the TAB Everest and won the Yes Yes Yes Stakes in a memorable three start campaign. The latter win clinched a $750,000 bonus for connections.
As he re-enters the Everest fray in Saturday’s Group 2 $500,000 Bowermans Commercial Furniture Shorts (1100m) at Randwick, Richards believes his two start late autumn campaign is the reason he’s not as ‘sexy’ as some of his rivals.
“I suppose they forgot about him a bit so let’s hope he can knock off a few big ones on Saturday,’’ he said.
“He’s never going to be an Eduardo and Nature Strip and win by 10 lengths, none of his trials have been that good. Even if he’s in an inferior trial he just gets to the front and bludges.
“It’s been a fantastic preparation, probably I would say better than last year but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Gytrash, $9 with TAB on Friday and $15 in TAB Everest betting, was placed in the Group 1 Goodwood in Adelaide at his first run since having bone chips removed then disappointed in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup in Brisbane.
But Richards said he suffered severe interference in that race and considers those two runs as a bridging prep for his second TAB Everest tilt. On the evidence of his two trials the gelding appears in order.
He showed his usual dash under some riding from Jason Collett in a 742m trial at Randwick two weeks ago and just a few days ago he showed Richards and trackwork rider Josh Evans he’s ready for race day competition.
“He ran reasonably good time and worked strongly to the line but the lad riding him said his mind was somewhere else the whole time,’’ Richards said.
“It’s better to do that and go to the races and put in than break a record on Tuesday morning and run last on Saturday.”
What Richards likes about the fact that six confirmed TAB Everest runners are clashing in The Shorts is that the presence of Nature Strip, Eduardo and Rothfire will ensure a genuine tempo.
He took advantage of that sort of scenario when he won the Concorde last year. And it’s easy to forget he holds a 3-0 scoreline against Nature Strip.
“His racing pattern suits because it gives him something to chase down,’’ he said.
“Up here in Sydney he’s always found races where there’s plenty of pace on. They tend to test their motors a bit more.
“If you get two or three of them together they generally bring each other undone, that’s basically what happened in the Everest last year.”
Given the strength of the race there’s a very good chance not everyone will go home happy or confident their Everest prospects have either stayed the same or enhanced.
So what’s the pass mark from Richards for Gytrash, who again holds the Inglis slot?
“If he was running home strongly at the finish and you say ‘at 1200m he’d have beaten them’ then you’d walk away and be happy with that,’’ he said.
“We’d love to win and then you’d go into the Everest with a full head of steam. You just don’t want him to be weakening at the finish, I want him to be doing his best work wherever he is in running.
“If he goes the other way then you know he’s not right.”