Sydney’s premier jockey Hugh Bowman is accustomed to saluting on champion mare Winx, and he believes Australian racing has another sure- fire winner on its hands with the $10 million Everest.
The inaugural running of the race over 1200m at Randwick on Saturday has created worldwide interest and attracted media from the northern hemisphere to Sydney.
“It’s in its infancy but I think it’s the most important initiative in Australian racing since the invention of the TAB,” Bowman said.
“All those other races have got history on their side and they’ve been built on back of history.
“This is a new race but it targets the iconic Australian-bred horse. Our breeding industry is focused so much on the sprinters because of the Golden Slipper.
“That’s developed over the last 30 or 40 years. I think this race will go a long way into building on that breeding industry.”
He likened The Everest to The Championships, another showcase event centred on Randwick, which started in 2014.
“The first year everyone was a little bit skeptical but it’s really developed into a headline act,” he said.
“We’ve got to let it build itself and I think it will.”
Bowman noted his Everest contender Clearly Innocent has made is own strides since winning the Country Championship final in April last year.
Originally trained by Greg Bennett in Scone before he opted for a career change, Clearly Innocent has had five starts for Kris Lees.
The high point was winning the Group One Kingston Smith Cup at Eagle Farm in May.
The track was heavy that day and Clearly Innocent displayed the resilience Bowman hopes will hopefully come into play on Saturday.
“I think realistically 1200 is probably short of his best trip but I’m expecting a very high pressure race and the winner could be looking for some resources of stamina,” he said.
“It may not happen but the likelihood is it’s going to take a horse that can run a very strong 1200 or further.
“He feels to me like a genuine Group One horse and I think whether he wins or not he’s going to make his presence felt over the next couple of years.”