Bren O’Brien



The Randwick Report – October 15

Australia's best sprinters are set to clash in the world's richest race on turf as Nature Strip seeks to defend his Everest title at Randwick.

Rail: True

Track: Heavy 

Weather: Friday –  Showers, Rain: 4 – 6mm, Temp: 23. Saturday – Cloudy: Rain 0 mm, Chance of rain 5 per cent, Temp 21

Fast money

What started as a gimmick has become a feature on the Australian racing calendar. The Everest caused a stir when it first landed but has been an undoubted success, cashing in on the depth of sprinting talent in Australia to create a unique centrepiece to the Sydney spring.

This year’s edition lacks a bit of depth and as a result the defending champion Nature Strip is set to start a short-priced favourite, having bounced off his Royal Ascot trip in great form. The world’s highest-rated sprinter defeated his three main rivals Lost And Running, Eduardo and Masked Crusader in this race last year, while he also accounted for that trio, as well as Mazu and Overpass, in winning The Shorts first-up last month.

The only serious new kid on the block is Jacquinot, the three-year-old coming off an excellent win in the G1 Golden Rose. That colt may be the best of his crop, but it’s hard to see him dropping back 200 metres and running down Nature Strip at his best.

Where do you need to be?

Randwick has been swamped with rain through 2022 and the meeting last Saturday was abandoned with four races to go. The rail goes back to the true here for the first time since September 17. Up on or near the pace was the place to be that day, as it has been at Randwick all spring. In fresh ground you can expect that theme to continue.    

Silver lining

Last week’s abandonment has added a couple of additional features to The Everest meeting. The Angst Stakes and the Silver Eagle both bolster the quality of the meeting, in particular the latter race which is a lead-in to the Golden Eagle in two weeks.

There are some very good four-year-olds in the Silver Eagle, headed by Espiona, who is looking to regain her best form, while the progressive Waterford and the very consistent Mr Mozart will be looking to put a stamp on the for ahead of $10 million race at Rosehill.


Espiona and James McDonald. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

It's a big day for

It’s always a big day for Chris Waller, who has won three Group 1s in October already. Nature Strip is the standout, his lone runner under his stable slot in the $15 million feature, but he also has the aforementioned Espiona and Waterford in the Silver Eagle as well as Polly Grey in the Angst. And that’s neglecting to mention the 17 other runners he has on the day!

The stat

$8,994,275 – The amount of prize money earned by horses ridden James McDonald so far in the 2022/23 season. It’s stunning what he has been able to achieve in two and half months, including three Group 1 winners at Caulfield in four days.

That monstrous amount of money could be set to nearly double with rides on the favourites in the $15 million The Everest and the $1 million Silver Eagle and leading chances in the two $2 million races, the Kosciuszko and the Sydney Stakes.

Track specialist

Race 9 No.1 Ellsberg – The Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou-trained galloper saves his very best for Randwick and capped that love affair when dead-heating in the G1 Epsom Handicap last time out. Overall, he has three wins from eight starts on the track, while among his four placings there was a third in the G1 All Aged and second in the Silver Eagle. 

From the trials

Race 5 No.4 Mnementh – Set for a first-up crack at the rich Kosciuszko, the Mitch Beer-trained Mnementh, placed in the Wagga Town Plate last campaign, smashed his rivals by nearly seven lengths in a trial at Wagga recently.       

Race 9 No.15 Rebel Rama – She was in career-best form last campaign and warmed up for this first-up run with good wins in two trials at Warwick Farm.


Race 6 No.4 In The Congo – He was below par in his resuming run at Moonee Valley, but after being sent back to the trials, he has been freshened up for this race.

Race 8 No.2 Startantes –  She was in awesome form last time in, but her two runs this campaign have been poor and the jury is out on where she is at this spring.

Notable gear changes

Race 1 No.5 A Lot More Love – Blinkers First Time

Race 1 No.7 Razeta – Blinkers First Time

Race 1 No.8 Thinking Rain – Blinkers First Time

Race 6 No.6 Bandipur – Synthetic Hoof Filler Off First Time

Race 6 No.16 Soldier Of Love – Blinkers First Time, Tongue Tie First Time

Race 7 No.4 Masked Crusader – Winkers Again

Race 7 No.7 Overpass – Winkers First Time

Race 7 No.9 Joyful Fortune – Ear Muffs (Pre-Race Only) First Time

Race 8 No.14 Espiona – Winkers First Time

Race 10 No.6 Grace And Harmony – Winkers First Time



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