The TAB Everest has made many a headline this week for its contentious advertising on one of Australia’s grandest landmarks: the Sydney Opera House, but what exactly is the race all about? Many are aware that it’s the world’s richest race on turf, but, being a new race, many people are still unaware of its significance in the Australian and, also, world racing calendar.
Run on the second Saturday of October, The TAB Everest is a 1200 meter sprint on turf. Twelve horses are entered, though the entry structure is uncommon (similar to that of America’s Pegasus World Cup), in that the slots are sold at AUD$600,000 before the race. Slot holders can then enter a horse of their own, sell their slot, or arrange another owner’s horse to fill their slot (as was the case last year, when Redzel won in slot holder James Harron’s entry).
2017 was the inaugural TAB Everest, meaning that this year will see only the second running of this incredibly opulent event. With a AUD$13 million purse, it’s not just the richest race in Australia, but also the richest in the world on turf, making it a huge event for horse owners, trainers and jockeys. While not as universally recognised as The Melbourne Cup, The TAB Everest is the premier event in Sydney’s Spring Racing calendar, and as it is only in its second year, is still gaining traction. An important difference to consider between the two races is distance: While The TAB Everest is 1,200 meters, the Melbourne Cup is 3,200 meters, making it a completely different playing field with very different horses entered.
Another common question is why champion horse Winx, who has captured the imagination of the racing world with a now staggering twenty-seven consecutive wins, is not a contender for The Everest. She’s a strong performer on shorter distances, though excels between 1,500 and 2,200 meters, and jockey Hugh Bowman has stated more than once that she has what it takes. The main reason given for this seems to be her owner’s desire to use her for consecutive Cox Plate wins. She already has three, and this year looks set to take the top spot for the fourth time: no small feat.
Though still a fledgling event, NSW Racing Chief Executive Peter V’landys has previously said that The TAB Everest will be: “One of the biggest races in the world in five years”, and that: “It’s captured the imagination of everyone in racing. The young people’s engagement is what has got me”, in relation to the enthusiasm with which Sydneysiders and tourists alike embraced the new race when it ran for the first time just twelve months ago.