By Ray Hickson
Max Whitby jokes that since finishing second in the inaugural TAB Everest things have gone backwards but he’s rapt to have secured a live contender in Trekking to tackle the October 17 sprint.
The six-year-old, third in last year’s Everest, will join his Godolphin stablemate Bivouac in the $15m pinnacle and Whitby said he and his slot partners couldn’t be happier to be teaming up with the international powerhouse.
“It’s not often you get a chance like that,’’ he said.
“To team up with one of the biggest operations in the world and with a quality horse, it’s quite a pleasure.”
The Everest syndicate headed by Whitby and Neil Werrett selected Vega Magic, who finished an unlucky second to Redzel, in 2017 then went with a three-year-old in 2018 with Graff running fifth.
Last year it was the multiple Group 1 winning mare Sunlight who ran tenth behind Yes Yes Yes so Whitby hopes Trekking can at least reproduce the form that saw him placed in that edition.
Since the Everest, Trekking has added the scalp of Gytrash in the Group 1 Goodwood earlier this year and resumed with a second behind Pippie in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley last Friday night in a run that caught Whitby’s eye.
“I watched with great interest on Friday night and I was rapt with how he went,’’ he said.
Oakleigh Plate winner, Pippie, makes it a Group 1 double in the Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes over 1000m at @TheValley. Bred & sold by @eurekastud – for $60,000 – at the 2017 @inglis_sales Sydney Classic Yearling Sale and has now won $1.2 million. #ItPaysToBuyAustralian pic.twitter.com/Z9vkGpp0pM
— Aushorse (@Aushorse_TBA) September 25, 2020
“The way he jumped and sprang on Friday night, I thought he might need another run but he looked so strong.
“I thought the speed in the Everest isn’t going to be an issue and Trekking can put himself in the race. The way he finished on Friday night it felt like he hasn’t lost an inch.
“We’re very happy to have the horse.”
Trekking is a $15 chance with TAB, his Godolphin stablemate Bivouac, who was selected earlier in the week to run in the Godolphin slot, is at $11.
Trainer James Cummings says it’s an honour to have two live chances in the TAB Everest once again – Godolphin was represented by both Trekking and Alizee last year.
“To have two horses in a race like this is always going to be a great thing,” Cummings told the Godolphin website.
“But this a lot more than merely having two horses in The Everest, this is a case of having two horses in the race that we believe can win it.”
A year ago Trekking won the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield second-up from a spell before his Everest third placing so there’s improvement to come.
“That was the best first-up run Trekking has ever produced,” Cummings said.
“He’s come through that race in great shape and we’ll have him back up to Sydney to get him ready to run the race of his life.”