By Ray Hickson
The chances of star sprinter Redzel remaining the only horse to claim The TAB Everest have gone up a notch after rave reviews from trainer Peter Snowden and jockey Kerrin McEvoy for his trial win at Rosehill on Tuesday.
While he still has to put his winless autumn behind him when he returns in next month’s Group 3 Concorde Stakes, the seven-year-old looked his old self running along in front and covering the 1000m in a slick 58.1 seconds.
“I wanted to see him show gate speed early and he did that, it was missing a bit from his last couple of starts last prep due to the little issues,’’ Snowden said.
“He’s moving freely now and that gate speed showed me what I wanted to see.’’
Intent out of the gates was a crucial piece of the puzzle missing from Redzel last preparation but he had it in spades with the blinkers on for his second trial this month.
The pace he set allowed the polarising Nature Strip to settle in behind him and he had about a half a length to spare at the end without being pressured by McEvoy.
Redzel leads all the way to win his trial at Rosehill on Tuesday
“It was a good solid trial, it was pleasing to see him jump well and round the trial out having a good hit out,’’ McEvoy said.
“I didn’t have to ask for a full effort, just a little click at the furlong.
“I could hear Nature Strip coming at me the last furlong but it was a good quality hit out with two nice horses pulling clear of the rest.’’
Fitness wise, McEvoy said there’s been noticeable improvement in Redzel since his Gosford trial earlier this month and all indications are that he’s fighting fit.
“We’ll be able to tell more with race day pressure but we’re confident he’s on the right track,’’ he said.
“There’s a nice amount of time now to tick him over before the first run back.’’
Snowden said the next two and a half weeks until the Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on September 7 will be used to fine tune Redzel for what promises to be an Everest early moment of truth.
It’s his chance to confirm he’s a major player in a race set to contain the likes of Sunlight, Pierata, Nature Strip, unbeaten Queenslander Zoustyle, Graff and Osborne Bulls.
Redzel is an $11 chance with TAB in the current market for the $14m TAB Everest (1200m) and it’s a price that offers respect for what he’s done in the past two years but also reflects the gelding’s current standing.
“His work has been really good and I think he is in a similar spot to where he was this time last year,’’ Snowden said.
“He recovered pretty quickly, although he ran time he pulled up like he hadn’t done much work so he’s not far off the mark.’’