Oct 15 2020 Godolphin pair set to climb to the top in $15 million Everest
Godolphin’s bid for victory in The Everest, Australia’s richest race and most valuable in the world on turf, is on track with both Bivouac and Trekking fit and fresh ahead of Saturday’s assignment.
“Both horses are where we want them, it’s now a matter of maintaining their fitness and at the same time preserving their freshness,” trainer James Cummings said.
Despite mixed fortune at the barrier draw, Cummings is confident both horses will have their chance in the $15 million sprint.
Bivouac, who drew 10 in the field of 12, comes to the race with the slightly superior record having won Australia’s best handicap sprint, the Newmarket Handicap, in brilliant style last autumn.
He had three of his well-credentialled Everest rivals behind him in that race and according to his trainer, he has lost nothing in the six months since scoring that momentous win.
“Clearly, the Newmarket was his peak performance and it’s worth noting he had Gytrash, Libertini and Tofane, who he meets again on Saturday, behind him there,” Cummings said.
Bivouac will be handled in The Everest by last year’s Everest-winning jockey Glen Boss whose only previous race ride on the horse resulted in his resounding Newmarket victory.
Cummings called on Boss to put Bivouac through a vital piece of work last Friday which the pair came through in fine style.
“Glen gave Bivouac the perfect barrier trial at Warwick Farm last week,” he said.
“It was just what the horse needed and he’s really gone ahead since.”
Cummings is satisfied Bivouac has the versatility, and Boss the skill, to overcome his wide gate.
“Our view is that if Glen would like him to be up there, he can be. At the same time, if an opportunity arises to take a position just off the speed, he can take that too,” he said.
While Trekking was chosen to occupy the slot owned by prominent racing identities Max Whitby, Neil Werrett, plus slot partners Steve McCann and Colin Madden, but he will race in the Godolphin royal blue under a prizemoney sharing arrangement.
Like Bivouac, Trekking has two G1 titles to his credit and in the latest he accounted for The Everest runners Gytrash, Behemoth and Santa Ana Lane in the G1 Goodwood Handicap in Adelaide.
The son of Street Cry will jump from barrier four and will be ridden by Josh Parr.
“Trekking will be on the march from the 300m and if he’s in touch at the 100m he’ll give them a race,” Cummings said.
Trekking finished third in last year’s Everest with Parr in the saddle.
“Josh is a jockey who’s always made the most of the opportunities we’ve offered him, as he showed on Trekking last year. He’s well and truly up to the task.”
Trekking entered Everest calculation when resuming with a second to Pippie in the G1 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley last month, a performance that immediately attracted Whitby and Werrett.
It also gave Cummings the opportunity to give the horse a better preparation than in 2019.
“We’re very happy to have been able to take a different approach to last year where he won his Everest spot in the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield the week before,” he said.
“This year we’ve come back from Melbourne earlier after the Moir and given him a really good preparation.”
“For Godolphin to have these two horses in a race like The Everest is an honour and a tribute to the team.”
“This is the highest-rating sprint in the world and we are in it with two horses who are primed and ready to run to the best of their abilities.”
Cummings also runs Deprive in Saturday’s G3 Sydney Stakes, a race that will supply a replacement runner if required in The Everest.
Deprive carries strong form into the Sydney Stakes from his first-up third in the G2 Premiere Stakes.
“He’s edged forward between runs which should be something of an ominous warning to his rivals after his last run where he finished third with The Everest runners Libertini and Classique Legend ahead of him and Nature Strip behind him,” his trainer said.
The full field and barrier draw for the $15 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday:
1. Nature Strip (5) $5 - $4.60
2. Trekking (4) $17 - $14
3. Classique Legend (6) $4.50 - $4.40
4. Santa Ana Lane (8) $21- $26
5. Behemoth (2) $11 - $10
6. Bivouac (10) $14 - $18
7. Gytrash (7) $4.80 - $6.50
8. Eduardo (9) $19 - $26
9. Dollar For Dollar (1) $34 - $71
10. Tofane (11) $19 - $18
11. Libertini (12) $7.50 - $7.50
12. Haut Brion Her (3) $21 - $26