The New South Wales Everest is a relatively young race on the Australian horse racing calendar however it is already one of the most eye-catching with 12 horses competing for $15m in prize money that makes The Everest the richest horse race on turf.
The Everest horse race is run at Royal Randwick Racecourse in October of each year. The NSW Everest takes place over a distance of 1200m and is run under weight for age conditions. It is run as a special conditions race as the race is currently ineligible for Group Race grading.
History Of The Everest Race
The Everest was created in 2017 from a concept designed by the joint venture of Racing New South Wales and The Australian Turf Club.
The race was designed originally with the focus of putting Sydney racing on the map and with an opening prize pool of $10m it certainly did.
An initial prize pool of $10m when The Everest was run in 2017 made the event not only the richest 1200m race in the world but the richest race on turf as well. Since 2017 prize money has risen a further $5m with The Everest 2021 field set to compete for $15m.
There are a total of twelve slots available for the race, which follow the same format as the Pegasus World Cup, where each one is sold for $600,000 to attract the best racing talent from Australia as well as global entrants.
With The Everest taking place on the second Saturday of October each year it falls firmly in the middle of the Spring Racing period. The decision to place the race at such a time drew concern from the racing enthusiasts with it competing directly with the Caulfield Cup on the same day.
Even though the Caulfield Cup and The Everest are completely different in terms of distance and location the decision to put such a high profile race in the middle of a strong day of Victorian racing was seen as a muscle flex by Racing New South Wales.
It has been a bit of a bumpy road for The Everest after launching at such a significant time drew further criticism in 2018 when Racing New South Wales used the Sydney Opera House as an advert for the 1200m feature.
There were several protests about the jockey’s silks and runners names being displayed on the sails of the Sydney landmark with a 300,000 strong petition submitted 2 weeks prior to the 2018 Everest.
Since it’s launch however The New South Wales Everest has continued to grow with more interest each year and additional funding that has seen the race go from strength to strenght in the state.
Race Venue Of The Everest
The Everest has always been run at Royal Randwick Racecourse which is currently the largest racecourse in NSW. The course holds 45 race meetings each year including the NSW Everest which is run on the course proper with a circumference 2,227m.
Royal Randwick is located in the eastern suburbs of Sydney just 5km from the Sydney CBD.
The course itself is operated under the leadership of the Australian Turf Club who also run the Rosehill Gardens Racecourse and Warwick Farm track both based in the west of Sydney.
Even though The Everest horse race is still less than 10 years old the Randwick Racecourse has been around for over 10 times that with the course having origins in the Randwick suburb since the 1830s.
The Randwick track was given it’s Royal status when Queen Elizabeth II granted permission in 1992 and the racecourse then became known as Royal Randwick with an inner track named the Randwick Kensington track.
Outside of racing Randwick racecourse has been the location for many concerts and mass events. One event was that of the visit of Pope John Paul II who visited the racecourse in 1995 with an estimated audience of over 250,000 people.
We haven’t quite seen those volumes on race days at Royal Randwick however withe race days like the ATC Derby, The Championships and now The Everest Randwick has seen in excess of six figure crowds attend premium race days.
Racing History Of The Everest
The racing history of The Everest is a fairly brief one with there only being 4 previously winners of the worlds richest 1200m race.
The winner of the inaugural Everest in 2017 was Redzel. A bold front running horse Redzel came into the Everest as a slight outsider on the third line of betting for the race.
It was somewhat of a surprise however when the Peter and Paul Snowden trained runner led from the front with nothing else in site and took out the $10m prize for his Triple Crown Syndication group.
The race in 2017 was only a sample of things to come for the owners and training group as Redzel would go on to repeat the feat in the 2018 Everest.
With the likes of Vega Magic, Trapeze Artist and Le Romain all having hugh spring campaigns Redzel was again unfancied in betting going round at $9 despite winning the race just 12 months earlier.
It was almost an identical ride by two time winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy as he got a soft lead in front and again led from start to finish beating Trapeze Artist and the fast finishing Godolphin trained Osbourne Bulls to win a second title.
Unfortunately for the Snowden’s there grip on the world's richest sprint slipped in 2019 when Chris Waller trained colt Yes Yes Yes was able to swamp the field wide and get home over the top to win the 2019 Everest.
Again unfancied in betting Yes Yes Yes remains the longest odds runner to win The Everest at odds of $16. With Redzel looking for the three-peat he was hotly fancied in betting but it was the age of young talent to come through and take up the mantle in a changing of the guard.
In 2020 we saw another youngster swoop the field and win in a powerful fashion with the Les Bridge trained Classique legend winning the race as favourite.
It was the first time a favourite had won The Everest and Classique Legend look every bit the $4 value as he grew a fifth leg from the 200m mark and let down an explosive burst of speed to run over the top of long time leaders Nature Strip and Eduardo.
Such was the performance of Classique Legend he was later the feature of a multi million dollar sale to a Hong Kong based ownership group which attempted to race the grey flash in HK with mixed success.
The Everest Conclusion
In 2021 we will see the fifth running of The Everest and it is set to be bigger and better than ever. With a capacity of $15m in prize money available for the race The Everest is set to continue to break records.
The initiative for the race and its design make it a unique spectacle on the New South Wales Racing calendar as well as putting racing in Sydney on the map at a global level as well.
A highly recommended watch for racing fans of all experience and definitely a race that will continue to grow as it ages.