SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Irish galloper US Navy Flag arrives In Sydney under quarantine conditions head of competing in The Everest, at Canterbury Park on September 24, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Irish galloper US Navy Flag arrives In Sydney under quarantine conditions head of competing in The Everest, at Canterbury Park on September 24, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Irish star ramps up bid to conquer Everest

IRISH raider US Navy Flag's preparation for the $13 million The TAB Everest steps up a gear with a solid track gallop at Canterbury on Friday.

Coolmore's Tom Magnier confirmed US Navy Flag is scheduled to have a fast workout on Friday morning, provided the track conditions are not too wet.

US Navy Flag, trained by Irish genius Aidan O'Brien, has settled in well at the Canterbury quarantine training and stabling facility where the triple Group 1-winning sprinter has exclusive use of the course proper.

But with the weather bureau predicting plenty of rain in Sydney over the next week or so, Magnier is unsure how US Navy Flag will adapt if the track conditions are wet on Everest Day.

"US Navy Flag won the July Cup on firm ground but if we get a rain-affected track for The Everest, that is a bit of an unknown,'' Magnier said.

"But we have been praying for this rain for months and we are finally getting some good rain up the Hunter (Valley) so no one is complaining.''

US Navy Flag's English jockey Ryan Moore is expected in Sydney later next week, most likely Thursday or Friday morning but it is still unclear if O'Brien will make the trip.

"I sent Aidan a copy of the Trek To The Everest show about U S Navy Flag which he watched with his son, Joseph back in Ireland,'' Magnier said.

"Aidan told me there is nothing like the coverage The Everest gets anywhere in the world and he is genuinely excited about having US Navy Flag in the race.''

US Navy Flag is the first northern hemisphere-trained runner in The Everest and he on the third line of TAB Fixed Odds betting at $11.

However, there are six runners above him in Everest markets with Santa Ana Lane, Vega Magic and Trapeze Artist equal favourites at $7 then on the second line of betting at $8 is Redzel, Shoals and In Her Time.

TAB's spokesman Glenn Munsie said betting markets for The Everest and Saturday's Group 1 $500,000 Spring Champion Stakes did not change on Thursday as Royal Randwick avoided a lot of the rain which fell in areas of Sydney. Randwick was rated a soft 5 last night.

"The weather bureau tip less winners than we do,'' Munsie said. "Randwick didn't receive anywhere near the rain forecast (Thursday) but there is rain predicted (today). If the track is downgraded that may result in some changes to the markets for the Spring Champion Stakes.

 

Trapeze Artist is among the favourites for The Everest. Picture: AAP
Trapeze Artist is among the favourites for The Everest. Picture: AAP

 

"But I can't see The Everest changing too much until maybe the barrier draw next Tuesday.

"When the market can't work it out and there is three horses at $7 equal favouritism and another three at $8 that tells you there is nothing between these Everest sprinters.''

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Thinkin' Big remains the $3.50 favourite for the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick.

In other Everest news, Bert Vieira, the owner of Trapeze Artist, said he will try to make it to Randwick for the big race next week.

Vieira has maintained a hospital bedside vigil for his wife, Gai, who was badly injured in a car accident a month ago. He said his wife remains in a coma but is in a stable condition.

 

THE EVEREST

Royal Randwick, October 13

$7 Santa Ana Lane, Trapeze Artist, Vega Magic

$8 In Her Time, Redzel, Shoals

$11 US Navy Flag

$13 Brave Smash, Graff, Viddora

$15 Home Of The Brace

$21 Le Romain