The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Redzel goes into The Everest on a four-race winning streak, including his track record-breaking effort in The Shorts last start.
This form surge has resulted in Redzel discarding the “most improved sprinter in training” label to be recognised now as one of the nation’s elite gallopers.
Chris Ward of Triple Crown Syndications said their sprinter has had an ideal preparation for The Everest and is taking his group of owners on a “ride of a lifetime”.
Even the barrier draw was kind to Redzel who will start out of gate three in The Everest.
“Redzel will go forward and it is up to Kerrin (McEvoy) to decide if he wants to lead or take a sit,’’ Ward said. “Most expect us to sit outside Houtzen but he will be up on the speed somewhere. He is very tough and in the best form of his life.
“It is exciting to have a chance in such a big race as this. I’ve never seen anything like build-up to The Everest, it has been incredible.
“Normally, I’ve very focused on the Guineas meeting at Caulfield this weekend but I haven’t had the time to give it much thought.
“I’m not one of those into this Sydney versus Melbourne thing, I’m all for a national outlook and what the Everest is going is bringing more attention to Melbourne’s lead-up sprints and giving the sport a lot of media coverage it would not have received.’’
Brothers Chris and Michael Ward couldn’t be happier with their Everest contender Redzel.Source:Supplied
Redzel, a son of super sire Snitzel, was orphaned as a foal when his dam, Millrich, died just three weeks after giving birth.
A foster mare was found for the colt who then developed into a strong, handsome yearling when knocked down to Chris and Michael Ward’s Triple Crown Syndications for $120,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions Yearling Sales.
“His pedigree leapt off the page to us,” Michael Ward said. “We’ve been big supporters of Snitzel and have had great success with his progeny with the likes of (Group 1 winner Hot Snitzel) and (Group 2 winner) Flying Snitzel.’’
The Ward brothers then syndicated Redzel to a group of 17 owners from all walks of life that includes police officers, school teachers, a doctor, taxi driver, concreter, electrician, pharmacist, a former NSW cricket coach and a security guard.
Part-owner Peter Piras has battled serious health issues in recent years but said being involved with a sprinter like Redzel “keeps me going”.
Redzel romps in The Shorts0:41
Horse Racing: Redzel’s path to The Everest is on track after a powerful win in The Shorts at Randwick.
“Words can’t describe how much this horse means to me. I’ve suffered through leukaemia and endured bone marrow transplants, and truthfully I’m lucky to be here today,’’ Piras said.
“I remember saying to Chris at Triple Crown when they purchased him to make sure he holds me a share in that horse! I can’t believe the success that we’ve had with Redzel and he not only keeps me going but also my family.
“The emotion that I feel when he wins is difficult to express; he gives me so much joy and to be involved in a race like the Everest will be unbelievable.”
John Medland has been involved in sport all his life and coached the NSW cricket team that won the Sheffield Shield in the mid-1980s but maintains nothing compares to the thrill he is experiencing as a part-owner of Redzel.
Another syndicate member, Abram Savage describe himself as a “simple concreter living the dream”. “They say racing is the sport of King’s but if you go to the races and take a look around most of the punters and racing fans are everyday people with dreams that one day they might be able to get involved with a racehorse,’’ Savage said.
Redzel has given his owners such a big thrill, but he could give them their biggest payday if he can win The Everest on Saturday.Source:Getty Images
“I’m just a simple concreter but what a story it would be if a group of everyday people like us can win the richest race on turf. It’s what dreams are made of!”
Patricia Di Marco’s husband John passed away two years ago just as Redzel was starting to show some potential on the racetrack.
“John suffered with chronic illness and mobility issues but his greatest joy was going to the races to watch Redzel with his good friend (and fellow owner Brad Playford), they would spend hours together studying the form,’’ Mrs Di Marco said.
“Sadly, we lost John two years ago just as Redzel was starting to hit his stride. Redzel is a horse that’s come up through the classes and with hard work and persistence he has become one of the strongest sprinters in the country.
“Seeing his horse run in The Everest would have meant so much to John, and come the day of the race it will mean so much to us, as the spirit of John lives on in Redzel.’’
Old firm set to take Everest
THEY have combined to win nearly 400 races together, including 22 at Group 1 level, in the last decade but their attempt to conquer The Everest is something else again.
Peter Snowden, who trains in partnership with his son Paul, and former stable jockey Kerrin McEvoy are teaming up again with Redzel in the $10 million The TAB Everest at Randwick.
The pair have had an enduring partnership that goes back to 2008 when Snowden was in charge of Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley (now Godolphin) racing operation and McEvoy was looking to re-establish himself in Sydney racing after five successful years riding in Europe.
It is one of the reasons Snowden has supreme confidence in McEvoy’s tactical nous, and similarly why the jockey can take solace he is riding a horse trained to the minute for the world’s richest race on turf.
“Kerrin has been there and done that so The Everest is the sort of race where he will eat up the pressure,’’ Snowden said. “We are very happy with Redzel, he’s trained on well, Kerrin knows the horse and they are a good fit.’’
McEvoy, who won so many big races for the Snowden stable including the Golden Slipper on Sepoy (2011), rode his first Group 1 winners for the father-and-son training partnership this year on Russian Revolution (The Galaxy) and Tycoon Tara (Tatt’s Tiara).
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy and trainer Peter Snowden will combine with Redzel in The Everest. Picture: Toby ZernaSource:News Corp Australia
“It is great to go back to the old partnership,’’ McEvoy said. “Ever since I’ve been freelance, Peter and Paul have been great supporters. We have had great wins together and they were fantastic help for me when I returned to Australia a few years ago. I’d love to repay them by winning The Everest.’’
Redzel is rated at $7.50 with TAB Fixed Odds in early Everest betting behind early favourite She Will Reign at $4.80. Despite Redzel’s impressive recent form, Snowden is happy most of the focus is on She Will Reign and Chautauqua in The Everest.
“I’m glad a lot of the hype is not around Redzel but I’m very confident he will run well,’’ Snowden said. “The barrier is perfect (gate three) as there good speed draw inside and outside. He should get his chance.’’
When The Everest was first announced back in February, Snowden admitted Redzel was not on his short list of potential stable hopefuls for the race. “Redzel has surprised me the level he has got to this year but what is even more surprising is that he keeps getting better,’’ Snowden said.
McEvoy said the Snowden’s have expertly managed and developed Redzel to the point where the gelding is now recognised as one of the nation’s elite sprinters.
“Peter and Paul have taken Redzel to a new level and their patience has been the key,’’ McEvoy said. “The stable is in great form and this horse is in the same vein of form.’’
Redzel has gone to a new level this year, says trainer Peter Snwoden. Picture: John GraingerSource:News Corp Australia
McEvoy agreed the barrier is ideal and gives Redzel his opportunity to win the big race.
“Redzel doesn’t have to lead but we will be up there, he is a speed horse but he is tractable and versatile,’’ the champion jockey said. “Where I position him will come down to how quick the race unfolds in the first 200m or so. This is a quality line-up so I have to get it right
“I would rate this the best sprint field I’ve ridden in when he comes to across the board quality.
“Black Caviar is the best sprinter I’ve seen but she was a standout in her races but The Everest is all quality with virtually every runner a chance of winning.
“The two that stand out to me are Redkirk Warrior and She Will Reign, but then you have English, I’m not putting a line through Chautauqua at all — it is that sort of race.’’
Snowden said he can’t recall so my publicity and interest being generated for one race.
“The Everest is great to be a part of,’’ Snowden said. “I’ve seen nothing like this before, the build-up has been incredible.
Peter Snowden is thrilled to have Redzel among the runners in the inaugural The Everest. Picture: Brett CostelloSource:News Corp Australia
“There is a lot of focus on the $10 million but to be honest with you, the money is irrelevant to us — we are just focused on Redzel and trying to ensure he will be competitive.’’
McEvoy, who has ridden two Melbourne Cup winners and won majors in Europe, said The Everest has been a “great initiative” for Sydney racing.
“This race is in its infancy, this is only year one and it will keep getting better,’’ McEvoy said. “I’m just thrilled to be a part of the race, the interest and focus it has created has been fantastic for the sport in NSW.’’