Everest Slot Held by MRC Offers Some Interesting Scenarios
The three-year-old colt named Graff is considered a contender for a slot in The Everest, but Kris Lees knows that time is running out to grab one of the four remaining slots for the Rich Randwick sprint in October.
Lees is considering an unconventional route, by some accounts.
Graff ran fifth in The Everest last year and has some respectable credentials, save for the last place run in the Group 1 The Galaxy at Rosehill in March 2019.
That was on a heavy track and it would be tempting to assume that Graff is no mudder, but The Everest last year was on another heavy track.
Graff’s best win was the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes at Rosehill in September of 2018.
Lees plan is to have Graff do some running Victoria way and qualify for The Everest through the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield. Lees does not have an engagement for the rich Randwick sprint and it could be thought that he is more interested in having Star Witness in the race.
The wrinkle is that the Melbourne Racing Club has a slot in The Everest and has a qualifying path open.
Runners must qualify for the Schillaci Stakes by racing in the Regal Roller Stakes in mid-August, The Heath at the end of the month or the Testa Rossa Stakes at September’s end.
According to Lees, Graff owner Alan Bell is backing the plan.
Considering that the current relationship between RV and Racing NSW is somewhat frosty, would it be out of the realm to envision Graff qualifying, only to have Racing NSW declare horses raced in Victoria as Equina non grata?
Possibly, but not so much in Graff’s case, as he is a Sydney horse right from the get-go.
The possible fly in the ointment is that the Schillaci Stakes is just a week prior to The Everest and while it is not unheard of for a horse to be raced on a week’s rest, Graff would have the travel from Melbourne to Sydney to shorten that week.