“We asked if we could come and see her while we are here, and she said ‘give me plenty of notice because I spend most of my time in bed’,” Richards said. “I was just hoping she could make it for Everest day. It made the day even better.”
Richards has decided to head straight to The Everest with Gytrash after he was too strong for Nature Strip on Saturday. The trainer will return to Adelaide on Tuesday and come back to Sydney for the final preparations after Gytrash has a couple of weeks away from the stable.
“We have a good team here in Clare [Cunningham] and Jase [Collett], so I have full trust in them,” Richards said. “Me being here isn’t going to change anything with the horse and Clare is amazing and will let me know everything I did to know and more.
“Gytrash is so good fresh I think the right way to go is straight to The Everest.
“Jacqui and I will drive back and check things at home and then come back in a couple of weeks for The Everest.”
Heathcote thinks Rothfire will prove Everest worthy
Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote has his hands on the MiEverest slot with Rothfire but hasn’t put it in his pocket just yet.
The JJ Atkins winner will have his first run outside Queensland in Saturday’s Run To The Rose and it will be there that Rothfire can secure his place in next month’s $15 million showcase.
“He has to come out and do it next Saturday,” Heathcote warned. “They are a good bunch of three-year-olds and he has to prove he is up with the best of them, which I think he can.
“I don’t want to be going to The Everest to make up the numbers; that would be unfair on the horse and the people investing in the slot.
“I want him to show any of the doubters that he is the real deal.”
The Run To The Rose will see three of the four juvenile group 1 winners from last season return to racing led by Golden Slipper winner Farnan along with King’s Legacy, who is a dual group 1 winner after the Sires Produce Stakes and Champagne Stakes.
Mamaragan and Peltzer will bring race fitness into the group 2 after filling the placings behind Anders in the San Domenico Stakes.
Showmanship shows off for Peters
Bob Peters wanted to show off Showmanship to slotholders for The Everest on Saturday, and while Gytrash and Nature Strip took the majority of the attention, the Perth five-year-old made a compelling case for a place in field at Moonee Valley.
“I went back to 1200m with him because I think he is an Everest horse and I think he showed that. Hopefully, a slotholder agrees,” Peters said.
Showmanship stormed home off a slow tempo running his final 400m in 22.12 seconds to take his record to seven wins from eight starts. Peters has not ruled out coming to Sydney for a final audition should he get interest from a slotholder.
“I do the planning and Grant [Williams] does the training,” Peters said. “The idea on Saturday was show him at 1200m for The Everest. We will wait and see what happens but he is good enough to win big races from 1200m up.”
Peters is also setting Windstorm and Superstorm, part of a team in Melbourne that also includes Arcadia Queen, for the Golden Eagle.
Pride has Fasika ready to fly in the Sheraco Stakes
Joe Pride covets slots in The Everest for Fasika and Eduardo and they will get their chance to earn their places in the $15 million race in the next fortnight.
Fasika returns in the Sheraco Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday after three barrier trials and Prides knows she needs a victory.
“She is a much stronger mare now and I gave myself a couple of weeks extra time to make sure she is ready to win first-up,” Pride said. “She is the mix for The Everest but you have to convince someone to take her and that’s what she will be there to do Saturday.”
Fasika is already group 1-placed from the All-Aged Stakes in the autumn and beat Gytrash in her most recent barrier trial.
Eduardo is in a similar position and is a contender in the minds of some slotholders after his two wins since joining the Pride yard.
“He will run in The Shorts and if he can show that he is up with those horses I think someone would pick him,” Pride said.
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald