The barrier draw has been completed and we are only days away from the second running of the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick.
The Everest is shaping as one of the most open betting races of the entire 2018 Spring Carnival and defending champion Redzel currently shares the top line with Trapeze Artist and Vega Magic at $7 quotes.
Redzel has been the benchmark for Australian sprinters for nearly two years and further to his win in The Everest, he claimed honours in both the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) and Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) most notably in 2017.
He was unlucky not to add another Group 1 title to his mantle through the recent Autumn Carnival but resumed this time for a dominant win over several of his Everest rivals in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m).
He did return a rare flat run in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) last time out, but will be at peak fitness for this race and will be extremely hard to run down after drawing the rails.
Trapeze Artist has led the new wave of sprinters throughout the last twelve months and is another horse that looks ready to peak third-up in The Everest.
Breaking through for a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) last spring, the Snitzel entire returned a far-more furnished horse in autumn this year and added wins in both the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) to his resume.
He returned a fair effort on heavy going to finish third in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) first-up this time and worked home well to finish fourth in the Premiere Stakes last time.
He can take a position around midfield from the central barrier 6 on Saturday and with even luck, can be fighting out the finish of The Everest.
Vega Magic went within half a length of winning The Everest in 2017 and a repeat of that performance would find him tough to beat on Saturday.
The Lope De Vega gelding failed to make an impression when he resumed for a hit-and-run eighth in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) in May but remerged for a dominant win in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) in late July.
He hit the line fairly finish fourth in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) last time out and will be ridden by champion hoop Damien Oliver once more on Saturday.
There is a case to be made for every horse in 2018 The Everest betting including Santa Ana Lane ($8), Shoals ($7.50) and Brave Smash ($13), but solitary international raider U S Navy Flag ($9) is undoubtedly the most intriguing horse set to step out.
The War Front colt has made a name for himself as one of the northern hemisphere’s most progressive sprinters and has record wins in each of the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (1207m), Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes (1408m) and Group 1 July Cup (1207m) most notably.
Ryan Moore has made the trip from Ireland to partner U S Navy Flag in The Everest and with the Aidan O’Brien polish, he must be respected.