REDZEL won the world’s richest turf race for the second straight time in Sydney Saturday, storming to victory ahead of a host of top-rated sprinters to clinch The Everest crown.
With Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle, he took a commanding lead out of the gate at Royal Randwick and was never seriously challenged to collect Aus$6.0 million (US$4.2 million) in winnings.
Between intermittent showers and before a crowd of 40,000, the Tye Angland-ridden Trapeze Artist was second with Osborne Bulls third.
“I was a bit more relaxed today, last year was a whirlwind,” said an ecstatic McEvoy in celebrating his second successive win.
“Having done it last year put me in good stead for this year. I had a nice amount of confidence that the horse was going to do well given the rain.
“It’s amazing and I’m really thrilled,” he added. “This race is just going to get bigger and better.”
The race over 1200 metres brought together some of the world’s best sprinters, angling for a slice of a whopping Aus$13 million in prize money.
The winnings were Aus$3 million more than in the inaugural race last year and easily top that offered at Australia’s iconic Melbourne Cup, where tens of thousands of punters gather in November to watch world champion thoroughbreds race.
Only the Pegasus World Cup in the United States carries more prize money, but it is raced on dirt.
Despite the lure of so much cash, The Everest attracted only one overseas entrant — American-bred and European-based US Navy Flag, ridden by Englishman Ryan Moore.
But it was still a cracking field with the runners boosting countless titles.
“It was a masterful ride and Kerrin judged it perfectly,” Redzel co-trainer Peter Snowden said.
“He did it tough today. He lead from the front and I am just so proud of the horse.”