By Ray Hickson
The absence of Redzel from The Shorts robbed punters of a true guide to where a quarter of The Everest field stands a month out from the race.
His untimely mishap in his box caused a small cloud to hang over him and enabled Trapeze Artist to regain TAB favouritism at $5. It’s safe to say Invincible Star, despite her defeat as favourite for the second time this spring, re-established herself and Brave Smash wouldn’t have lost any admirers.
TAB’s Gerard Middleton said the disruption to Redzel’s preparation caused him to drift a point to $6 while Trapeze Artist firmed back to $5 for the $13 million TAB Everest (1200m).
“Invincible Star just couldn’t reel in Ball Of Muscle in The Shorts, but looks to be tracking nicely for October 13 so our bookies cut her from $26 to $17,’’ he said.
“Brave Smash stayed at $26 after running third. English was the disappointing run in the race of the TAB Everest runners and drifted from $17 to $26.’’
There’s one slot remaining among the 12 horse field and Shorts winner Ball Of Muscle couldn’t have produced a more timely win, especially over three Everest runners.
He firmed from $101 to $51 as he put his name forward to grab that final slot.
“It’s interesting to note his last 1200m run was in last year’s Sydney Stakes on TAB Everest day where he ran third, just more than a length behind In Her Time,’’ Middleton said.
Everest Report Card – September 15
Invincible Star (trainers Gai Waterhoue & Adrian Bott; slot holder GPI Racing)
TAB: $26 into $17
It’s fair to say Invincible Star disappointed first-up when she was easily outpointed by Redzel in the Concorde Stakes but her performance in The Shorts has her heading in the right direction.
The intention was to make use of her speed, and Redzel’s absence, but that went out the window when she stepped away last which handed Ball Of Muscle the softest of leads.
Importantly she settled well in a trailing position to the turn and made a good fist of chasing Ball Of Muscle down but she ran out of ground getting within a head or so. It’s possible we’ll see her again in the Premiere Stakes on September 29.
Brave Smash (trainer Darren Weir; slot holder Chris Waller Racing)
Hugh Bowman said he was ‘delighted’ with his first ride on last year’s Everest third placegetter and was adamant after The Shorts that he’s looking for every bit of 1200m.
Brave Smash found himself slightly held up for a run on Saturday and he was one of only two horses in the race to break 33 seconds for his last 600m. He finished 0.2 lengths closer to Ball Of Muscle than he did first-up at Caulfield and Weir still has the blinkers up his sleeve for The Everest.
It’s also likely that the Japanese import will contest the Premiere Stakes as his final lead up.
English (trainers Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott; slot holder Damion Flower)
TAB: $17 out to $26
On face value you’d have to say English let the side down significantly managing to beat only one home in the seven horse field. However, after the race it was discovered the mare was in season which goes a long way to explaining her lacklustre performance.
In the run it appeared she was travelling up in good style behind Invincible Star, running the second fastest 600m-400m split behind Brave Smash, but she had nothing left to give at the business end.
Last year she rebounded off a so-so first-up effort in The Shorts to go down narrowly in the Premiere so her chances should be judged on that race, not this one.
This week’s runners
None of the 11 so far confirmed Everest runners are scheduled to race this weekend but the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield could throw up that final starter.
Godolphin’s Home Of The Brave threw his hat in the ring with his Theo Marks win earlier this month and another win would do his chances no harm, while another Godolphin sprinter, the import Jungle Cat from the Charlie Appleby yard, could emerge should he reign supreme.
In Her Time completed an exhibition gallop at Newcastle on Friday and she is due to contest a 1000m trial at Newcastle this Wednesday, while Coolmore’s international runner U S Navy Flag is scheduled to arrive at Canterbury this Saturday.