Everest Day – 13 October 2018

Everest Day was a huge day for Sydney racing. The biggest crowd is a long time.

An interesting day’s racing.


I imagine there must be a bit of angst on all sides in relation to Pierata, who won the WFA Sydney Stakes. The various slot holders and Pierata connections couldn’t come together on a deal. In the conditions and based on his win, he think he would have won the Everest, had he started. That’s racing.

The Everest was a huge success with a crowd of 40,000 people in attendance. The race was worth $13,000,000 but interestingly, on the NSW TAB, and this is only one portion of all turnover, $1,300,000 was bet of which racing receive 4.5%. It is hard for the industry to make money on big prizemoney races.

Fortune favours the brave.

Full marks to Darley and, no doubt to my mind, to their ‘racing adviser’ Dom Beirne. Three audacious rides: the experiment of long-priced Osborne Bulls in the Everest, who overperformed running third, then first and second in the last, the 1000m race.

All were aggressively taken, uniquely, to the outside fence in the straight. Wonderful racing. Great courage. Dom deserves an immediate pay rise!

St Ledger

My pea-brain mind led me to wonder if the hurdler Big Blue was in the St. Leger to perhaps act as a pacemaker for his stablemate Wall Of Fire, a horse that was unable to demonstrate his best, because of the slow pace, in the Metrop two weeks prior. I must say the Godolphin castoff Big Blue did have outstanding wet form in the UK and he set a cracking pace that the others, including the stablemate were unable to keep up with. When the whips were cracking on the testing ground in the home straight Big Blue kept going.

On a side note, the St. Leger from 1841 (20 years before the first Melbourne Cup), until 2001, was an early season 2600m race for three-year-olds, once won by Tulloch by 20 lengths. Nowadays, it is just a 2600m set weights race. A shame.


The Craven Plate is a WFA race, which had increased prize money this year, I suspect to try and attract Winx as the race was being held on Everest Day. I foolishly took a set against the eventual winner Moss ‘N’ Dale for two reasons. Firstly, while Jack Martin rides very well, he usually enjoys the benefit of a 3kg claim. That claim just vanishes in a WFA race. Then there is the fact that Moss ‘N’ Dale had never raced in a WFA race before. Genuinely WFA races are won by horses with WFA age experience – horses that are in WFA races because they would be given too much weight in handicap races. Last time Moss ‘N’ Dale was in a handicap race, he was on the limit, then on Saturday, he pops up and wins a WFA race that has been won by the likes of Tie The Knot, Tulloch, Hydrogen, Shannon, Flight, Peter Pan, Wakeful, and of course by Phar Lap on three occasions! On Saturday the shipper was far too strong in the conditions, and I was left with egg on the face again.


Continuing the mountain theme, the Kosciusko Calcutta, held on the Friday, was a huge success with a turnover of $250,000.

Still, this is only a tiny percentage on the turnover Calcutta’s produced in India in the glory days of the Calcutta some 60 or 70 years ago. These massive betting events were held no doubt by the colonial masters on the sub-continent as a way to bet on the English Derby. The below is a clipping from a 1928 newspaper that indicates in Calcutta India that year, 630,000 pounds was the total of the sweep for that year’s English Derby. Using the Reserve Bank Calculate, 630,000 pounds in 1928 equates to about 50 million dollars in today’s currency. I can only image the fun a $50,000,000 Melbourne Cup Calcutta would produce!

White horses

We rarely see white horses, and when we do the public love them.

Gai had a white horse named The Bride which retired a maiden, while John Singleton paid a great deal for the all-white The Opera House, the dam of Saturday’s white horse Utzon, who was well supported in the first at Caulfield but finished down the track.

In American racing history, a white horse, or a Dominant White as they are known, has never won a Stakes race. In Japan, there has been just one very famous white horse, a mare named Yukichan, who won several Stakes races and was known as ‘the most beautiful horse in Japan.’ I must say the white horses we have seen in Australia of late are all well named. The Bride for obvious reasons, the Opera House too. Then Utzon, named after Jørn Utzon, the architect of the Sydney Opera House.


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