Dual Everest winner Redzel heads to the Concorde Stakes as the outsider in the six-horse field.
He has won the 1000m Concorde Stakes at Randwick for the past two years on his way to his wins in the world’s richest race on turf.
But bookmakers are wary heading to Saturday with three of the six runners already in the Everest, and three – including favourite Nature Strip – yet to secure a start in the $14 million Everest on October 19.
A Group One winner of The Galaxy over 1100m, Nature Strip has built a reputation as a pure speedster who jumps and runs.
But since joining Chris Waller from the Darren Weir stable, Nature Strip has undergone re-education to try to extend his repertoire.
That was demonstrated in his most recent barrier trial when James McDonald tucked Nature Strip in behind Redzel and followed him to the line for second.
Waller says although Nature Strip has been viewed as a “go fast and hope for the best” type he is sure he can prove more versatile.
“I know everyone is just waiting to see him settle better,” Waller said.
“I have just about done it.”
Concorde runners Sunlight and Pierata are already in the Everest with Graff and Zoustyle the other two in the race who could stake their claims.
Graff ran fifth in the Everest last year after getting a late call-up when Menari was injured.
“He will go to the Concorde without blinkers,” trainer Kris Lees said.
“He’s more mature so I don’t think he needs them.”
Premier Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan is testing the waters with Zoustyle who is unbeaten in six Queensland starts.
If the four-year-old attracts interest for the Everest, Gollan will of course be interested but he is more concerned with how he lines up against better opposition.
And Gollan has not been tempted to put a high-profile Sydney jockey on his stable star, sticking solid with Brisbane rider Brad Stewart
Stewart’s career includes a stint in Sydney with the late trainer Jack Denham in the early 2000s.
During his stay Stewart won the Gimcrack Stakes (Donna Natalia), Peter Pan Stakes (Dandify), and Roman Consul Stakes (Kootoomootoo).
“I am sure Brad will more than hold his own,” Gollan said.
There are four vacant slots for the Everest with Coolmore indicating July Cup winner Ten Sovereigns is still a chance to come to Australia if he performs well in this weekend’s Haydock Sprint after failing in the Nunthorpe.
Godolphin holds a slot with Alizee and Osborne Bulls front runners while James Harron is holding off his selection.
The fourth remaining slot belongs to the Melbourne Racing Club with the winner of the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield on October 12 to be given the option to run.