By Ray Hickson
Perth’s leading owner Bob Peters has his first runner in The TAB Everest, with Arcadia Queen securing The Star’s slot, and he’s adamant stablemate Enticing Star is just as worthy of a place in the $14 million feature.
Arcadia Queen, a winner of five of her six starts including the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m), and Winterbottom Stakes runner-up Enticing Star are already in Sydney having arrived last week to new trainer Chris Waller.
Peters said he’s excited to have his star rising four-year-old in The Everest and indicated she’s likely to have a run before the big event at Randwick on October 19.
“I think it’s great, I’ve learned a lot about The Everest since we got involved and I found The Star people very good to deal with,’’ Peters said.
“I didn’t realise the interest in the race from everywhere. When I said I was going that way instead of the Cox Plate I had every radio station on the east coast ringing me.’’
The Star’s two Everest runners to date are Vega Magic, second to Redzel in 2017, and Shoals who ran 11th last year.
Michael Hodgson, General Manager Tourism, Food & Beverage, Strategy and Partnerships at The Star Entertainment Group said the company has carefully considered who to partner with for this year’s race, and is committed to winning the event.
“The Star is a proud supporter of the Australian Turf Club, and of The Everest,” Hodgson said.
“We’re delighted to have secured one of Australia’s biggest names in horse racing. Bob has more than 40 years in the industry and we welcome him, his team and the magnificent filly Arcadia Queen.
“We’re confident that together we can conquer the event.”
Of course with Arcadia Queen now confirmed as an Everest runner she’s likely to remain in Sydney to run in the inaugural $7.5 million The Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on November 2.
If she is good enough to win both races she’ll earn well over $10 million for her trouble.
And that’s the big question – we don’t know how the Perth form will line up in Sydney but she has the reputation and the record that tells Peters she’s a potential star.
“All the experts tell me she’s pretty good, the offers I get to buy her tell me those people think she’s pretty good, the handicappers think so, I hope they are right,’’ he said.
“Until we won (the Kingston Town) with Perfect Reflection a three-year-old filly had never won it. In their defence not many went in it, we’re the only ones silly enough to do it.
“We’ve won the race five times but she was definitely the one that stands out to me. Before that it was Old Comrade but he didn’t have the record she does and didn’t win it as well as she did.’’
In suggesting Arcadia Queen will likely have a lead up run into The Everest, Peters said that’s because he has a healthy respect for the Randwick 1200m.
And it will provide a good grounding to go straight into The Golden Eagle.
Peters makes a good case for Enticing Star to be included in Everest contention given the rising six-year-old is a bit unlucky not to be unbeaten.
The mare won her first eight starts then was found to be in season in her first defeat in the Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) then pulled up with mucous in her gallant second behind Voodoo Lad in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in November.
“I can’t believe how a horse could do it. When she was beaten the first time she was in season and had the mucous then,’’ Peters said.
Arcadia Queen wins the Kingston Town Classic at Ascot
“Each time there’s a good excuse why she’s been beaten. If she’d won that other race and the Group 1 she’d be 10 starts for 10 wins and they’d be falling over themselves to put her in.’’
Those who don’t know Bob Peters should be aware he errs on the diplomatic side when discussing his horses but if he has a strong view he’ll voice it.
So, where does he stand on Arcadia Queen versus Enticing Star?
“If I was put on the rack and said you have to put everything you own on one or the other as a bet, and I don’t bet on any of my horses, I wouldn’t know which one,’’ he said.
Fair to say that’s a pretty big call in itself given the filly’s burgeoning reputation.
TAB has Arcadia Queen on the $11 line behind favourite Santa Ana Lane while Enticing Star is $26 with half of the 12 slots now filled.