Hawkes Racing sprinter Masked Crusader has become the second horse to earn an Everest berth, joining Nature Strip in the $15 million race.
The G1 William Reid Stakes winner has been secured for the slot held by a group of high-profile racing identities, including the gelding’s part owners Neil and Colin Madden.
Rupert Legh, who also has a share in Masked Crusader and has enjoyed tremendous success with horses the quality of multiple G1 winner Chautauqua, said they were thrilled to have some certainty heading into the spring.
“I was talking to John (Hawkes) about it and he couldn’t agree more, that it’s good to get it off the table and to go and enjoy the journey,” Legh told Racing NSW.
“You have a target race and it makes it easier when you are planning a horse’s program.”
The spring showpiece might be Masked Crusader’s long-range target, but the four-year-old has a more immediate mission in Saturday’s G1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick for which he is a pre-post favourite.
He is the second horse this week to be confirmed for an Everest slot after Chris Waller Racing locked in their star sprinter Nature Strip.