Masked Crusader

Slot Holder: Max Whitby & Neil Werrett

Toronado (IRE) – She’s Got Gears
Trainer: Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes 
Owners: R & C Legh Racing Pty Ltd, Gilgai Farm, B & C Thoroughbreds Pty Ltd, Mr C H Madden, Mrs J G Madden, Werrett Bloodstock Pty Ltd, Encompass Bloodstock, Mr P C Orton

Regular jockey: Tommy Berry
Prizemoney: $3,788,275
Career: 17-7:3:2 

 

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Connections of star sprinter Masked Crusader can sit back and watch the 2022 TAB Everest field take shape in front of them as the 2021 runner-up is first horse secured for the sixth running of the $15 million classic.

The race isn’t run until October 15 but managing owner Rupert Legh said the gelding, who will be six when the TAB Everest is next staged, can spend 2022 aiming at one race after the Max Whitby, Neil Werrett and Col Madden group snapped him up again.

Werett and Madden are among the owners of Masked Crusader.

Of course, there will be an autumn campaign aimed at the $2.5m TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) but Legh said the owners are fixed on improving on his narrow defeat in the Everest.

“You want to lock it away so you have a definite goal and now you can prepare and plan,’’ Legh said.

“The deal they offered last year was more than fair and it was only right to support the ownership group and lock it away.”

The TAB Everest continues to break new ground – Masked Crusader is the first horse to ever be locked in pre-Christmas.

Co-slot owner Max Whitby said it made sense to go with Masked Crusader for another year given 2021 was his coming of age at the top level and all indications are that 2022 will be even better.

And the fact he’s rising six while Nature Strip will be eight and Eduardo nine he’ll be at his peak as a sprinter.

“As far as I’m concerned, Lost And Running is a 1400m horse and this year’s winner is going to be an eight-year-old so we’re in a good position,’’ Whitby said.

“There was a cigarette paper in it this year so we will see what happens.

“He’s the right horse, no doubt about it. We know what the conditions are, we know what we are up against.