GAI Waterhouse returned from a midyear European holiday to some welcome news — her outstanding mare English has secured a start in the $10 million The Everest.
Tabcorp has decided to make an early call on its Everest slot and on Tuesday night selected English as its runner.
English becomes the fifth confirmed starter in The Everest after Chautauqua, She Will Reign, Houtzen and Fell Swoop.
Waterhouse, who trains in partnership with Adrian Bott, said English has returned from her winter spell and was being prepared specifically for the $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 14.
“She is back in the stable and looks super,’’ Waterhouse said. “She is a big, strong mare and her record at Randwick is outstanding.’’
English, a Group 1 winner of the All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick, has an excellent record over sprints distances on her home track with dual wins in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes and successive placings in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes behind Chautauqua over the Everest course and distance.
“I think the form out of the TJ Smith Stakes is the right form for The Everest,’’ Waterhouse said.
“It is not surprising to me that the three placegetters (Chautauqua, English, Fell Swoop) from that race are in The Everest now.’’
Craig Nugent, Tabcorp’s chief operation officer of wagering and media, said the decision to go with English even though there is more than three months to The Everest is part of the intrigue of the race.
“We are in uncharted waters here,’’ Nugent said. “If you have a slot you could sit back and wait or go early which is all part of the mystique of The Everest.
“This is the intrigue of the race because there is no exact way to go about it.’’
Nugent felt English, who is raced by the Kelly family of Newhaven Park Stud, is the “perfect fit” for the TAB.
“There is a natural alignment with English being trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and the mare’s owners who are also actively involved in running some of Sydney’s biggest PubTABs,’’ Nugent said.
Nugent said there are some exciting initiatives planned including a competition to give 10 TAB customers the opportunity to share the ride of a lifetime with the English team including a potential share of Everest prizemoney.
“We want to create something special here,’’ Nugent said. “The Everest is an exciting concept and we want to engage our customers in the race.’’