Worldwide Interest in The Everest Almost Overwhelming
“If you build it, they will come,” went the iconic line from the baseball film, starring Kevin Costner, Field of Dreams.
The ATC has taken the line to heart by building the world’s richest turf race, The Everest, to be run at Sydney’s Royal Randwick racecourse on October 14, 2017.
The ATC got several things right.
They made the Group 1 race a 1200 m sprint, knowing that few modern people have the three minutes of attention span needed to watch an entire Melbourne Cup.
By announcing a $10 prize pool, the ATC successfully attracted intense international interest. Staying races are in a slow decline, not just in Australia, but worldwide as well, so getting big name horses from other countries was difficult, especially when the logistics of getting a racehorse all the way to Australia.
The ATC also managed to fire a shot across the bow of Racing Victoria without being excessively flagrant about it. There is a major meeting going on at The Heath on the same day, with the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas, Thousand Guineas, Caulfield Stakes and Toorak Handicap all being contested, but the ATC did not step on the toes of the Caulfield Cup or the Melbourne Cup.
It would have to be acknowledged that the big purse was the main reason international interest in The Everest has exceeded expectations.
The deadline for connections to supply their Expressions of Interest in taking part in The Everest has come and gone. Twenty-five horses submitted applications, with nearly half of those coming from the owners of overseas horses.
English sprinter Limato is a possibility for one of the barriers. The majority of the interested horses have won at the Group 1 level, which as the final selection draws nearer, would have to seem like something of a de facto criterion for a slot.