Just weeks after Nash Rawiller feared he would be without an Everest hopeful following the retirement of Eduardo, that sprinter’s stablemate Private Eye has stepped up to fill the gap.
Runner-up to Giga Kick in last year’s Everest, Private Eye announced he would again be a genuine force in next month’s $20 million sprint with a brilliant first-up victory in Saturday’s Group 2 Shorts (1100m) at Randwick.
The race didn’t go to plan with the pair forced to camp wide facing the breeze, but Private Eye still managed to unleash his trademark turn of foot and nail leader Overpass in the final bounds, the win completing a feature double for Rawiller after he won the 7 Stakes on comeback galloper Think It Over 35 minutes earlier.
Fittingly for Rawiller and Private Eye’s trainer Joe Pride, 2021 Shorts winner Eduardo led the Group 2 field out before they combined to capture the Everest lead-up with his stablemate.
“It’s an emotional day, isn’t it? Great to see Think It Over back and sad to see another old champ leave (Eduardo),” Rawiller said.
“The writing was on the wall a month ago that I may not have an Everest ride and he (Pride) said ‘if something happens and Eduardo’s not there for us, you can ride this bloke’.
“I knew he’d come good for us at the right time. He’s just a magnificent horse.”
Private Eye still needs to secure an Everest slot but there was a pre-race expectation that whichever horse won the Shorts would wrap one up shortly after.
Pride, who already has Think About It in the race, is expecting Private Eye to become his second runner and says the gelding has been trained to improve significantly off Saturday’s run.
“I’ve got a bit of thinking to do whether we go to the Premiere Stakes with him, or straight to The Everest,” Pride said.
“I’m pretty confident, all things being well, I’ll have two runners in The Everest. The two horses deserve to be there.
“That was exciting. I figured he was going to come back to what he was doing last spring, but you can never count on it.”
Private Eye ($12) scored by a long head from Overpass ($5) with Buenos Noches ($7.50) an eye-catching third.
Josh Parr said he was incredulous Overpass was run down after almost pinching the race.
“I must be honest I can’t believe I lost,” Parr said.
“I topped the hill and let him go. He sprinted really well so it shaped up to be a cracking race and it surely was.”
Buenos Noches’ jockey Dylan Gibbons said his horse turned in an outstanding Everest trial.
“Any slot holders who missed that – just remember that was 11(00 metres),” Gibbons said.