By Ray Hickson
John O’Shea has his first TAB Everest runner as his exciting sprinter Lost And Running is vaulted into the big leagues by snaring a start in the $15 million race in TAB’s slot.
The rising five-year-old, a winner of six of his seven starts to date, returned to O’Shea’s Randwick stable this week to prepare for his Everest mission and O’Shea can now plan his campaign with certainty.
Lost And Running is the third horse to officially secure a slot in 2021 following Nature Strip (Chris Waller Racing) and Masked Crusader (Max Whitby & Neil Werrett) while defending champion Classique Legend’s owner Bon Ho is in possession of a slot.
O’Shea has been adamant Lost And Running has the scope to improve into the top echelon of sprinters and after his easy win in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) in May branded him the best sprinter he’s trained.
“When we bought Lost And Running for $40,000 you can only dream to end up with a TAB Everest horse,’’ he said.
“At his first race start he broke the track record (at Scone), he rated through the roof there, and at every other run since then he’s put out pretty good figures.
“In my time as a trainer he’s by far and away the best sprinter I’ve trained.”
There’s a spot or two among the nation’s sprinting ranks for some new blood and if O’Shea’s view that the gelding is a superior sprinter to the likes of Foxwedge, Sea Siren and even Astern is correct then he’s a worthy contender.
O’Shea said the horse still has to prove it on race day, he will get that chance in races like the Group 2 Shorts (1100m) and Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) on the way to the Everest, but he has the most upside.
“Lost And Running is a very important horse for our stable, and obviously the ownership group, and we’re looking forward to the next six months,’’ O’Shea said.
“Just through natural improvement he will find himself at that higher level. I don’t think he needs to change anything, continue on that upward spiral and he’ll be fine.
“The TAB Everest is the most important race on the calendar for us (as trainers). We can have an Everest runner and to have a chance of winning the world’s richest turf race is a dream come true.
“If you win the TAB Everest you can mark yourself the best sprinter in the world.”
Lost And Running is rated $11 in TAB’s all-in market and O’Shea said at this stage of the year that’s about right.
“If he comes out next time and improves dramatically he will start shorter, if he doesn’t improve he will probably start a little bit longer,’’ he said.
Adam Rytenskild, Tabcorp Managing Director of Wagering and Media, said TAB believes Lost And Running has the right credentials to win Australia’s richest race in the fifth edition.
“We are delighted to have secured the services of Australia’s most exciting sprinter for what has rapidly risen to become the world’s richest and most competitive sprint race,’’ he said.
“TAB is proud to have been associated with the Everest since the first running and think we have secured the right horse to win it.
“We look forward to sharing the ride with our customers as we count down to the big race at Randwick on October 16.”
TAB’s Everest runners to date have been English (2017), In Her Time (2018), Santa Ana Lane (2019) and last year Nature Strip.