Anthony Van Dyck outlines Derby credentials with smooth Trial victory
Anthony Van Dyck

A staggering $20 million is up for grabs within an hour as the 2020 editions of the Caulfield Cup and The Everest.

From a Caulfield Cup perspective, the internationals are here, our Aussie horses have gone through the key lead-up races and most of all, Victoria has survived the pandemic to actually get to this great race.

Further north, Racing NSW has been full steam ahead towards this new and exciting race. The fourth edition of The Everest has had the most dramatic lead-up of any yet.

Imagine finding the winner of both races… here goes…

STELLA ARTOIS CAULFIELD CUP (Group 1, 2400m, $5,000,000)
1 ANTHONY VAN DYCK – Aidan O’Brien, Hugh Bowman. Barrier 21.
A powerful European stayer with an impeccable CV which includes beating Stradivarius twice in recent times. Travelling foreman sounded wary about him on soft ground but with the sun – hopefully – shining on his back, he’s the one to beat despite the wide alley and the top weight.
Class is permanent!

2 AVILIUS – James Cummings, John Allen. Barrier 17.
Surprised to see him here, I must say. Will enjoy the 2400m and a soggy track would help but it’s been a while since we’ve seen the very best of this bloke. Wide alley, gets back. Write your own ticket with me.

3 VOW AND DECLARE – Danny O’Brien, Damien Oliver. Barrier 18.
The reigning Melbourne Cup champ has a wide gate to contend with but we do know this is not his major goal of the spring.
Has the legendary Damien Oliver aboard and for his back-to-back Melbourne Cup hopefuls, you’d like to see him charging to the line just as he did in last year’s Caulfield Cup.

4 BUCKHURST – Joseph O’Brien, Ben Melham. Barrier 9.
I backed him in Europe one late evening and he was quite poor so perhaps I have a sour taste in my mouth. Won or runner-up in seven of 10 career runs and we know this barn – and this ownership – produce magnificent staying types. Strong each way hope.

5 Mirage Dancer – Busuttin & Young, Craig Newitt. Barrier 6.
Was a somewhat surprising Metropolitan winner which ensured he’d go round here. His mile-and-a-half form is strong and he performed strongly in this race last year. Blowout hope but not for me.

6 Mustajeer – Kris Lees, Billy Egan. Barrier 15.
Likes the trip, likes the rain. Otherwise way outclassed. 100/1 at least.

7 Verry Elleegant – Chris Waller, Mark Zahra. Barrier 11.
Has grown from a headstrong filly unable to see out a trip to a glowing mare with all the attributes of a Cup winner.
Rain yes, recent form yes, trainer yes and barrier yes. Every chance.

8 Dashing Willoughby – Andrew Balding, Michael Walker. Barrier 2.
Knocked off 2018 Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter which gives a rough guide to this five-year-old who has been only gelded this year.
Won or placed in four of six tries on a soft deck. Goes into first-fours for mine.

9 Finche – Chris Waller, Damien Lane. Barrier 12.
What to say about Finche!?!
He runs a great race almost every time and looks the winner at some point in most of his races but the fact of the matter is it’s been more than a year since his most recent win and five tries since. Not for me.

10 Prince Of Arran – Charlie Fellowes, Jamie Kah. Barrier 19.
Adopted Aussie Arran. Never missed a hole in Australia and seemingly grows a leg when out here. Jamie Kah gets on and she’s in rare form.
Zip from eight on soft and is now an eight-year-old. You almost have to keep him safe but you also must know he’s not here to win this Cup, he wants the one in early November.

11 MASTER OF WINE – M. W. J Hawkes, Craig Williams. Barrier 7.
A boom horse gets his shot at glory.
Was okay in Makybe Diva and slightly better in Turnbull Stakes. Yet to see the track but his barn is in rich form and the hype has been on this fella for a while.

12 THE CHOSEN ONE – Baker & Forsman, Daniel Stackhouse. Barrier 3.
Was alright in this race last year but he’s been floating since. A winner three back but only beat an average bunch. Another who will go around at a whopping price.

13 WARNING – Anthony & Sam Freedman, Luke Currie. Barrier 20.
VRC Derby winner gets a wide alley and unlike his Derby win, he will be without the services of D. Oliver. Closed hard in Turnbull and stable has been very upbeat about how he’s tracking. At $23, seems under the odds.

14. DALASAN – Macdonald & Gluyas, William Pike. Barrier 14.
Less than 20 starts and $2m in the bank, it’s hard to discount him but he seems a rung below the A+ staying stars.
In-form hoop William Pike jumps on but in my book, he starts north of 50/1 at the jump.

15. TRUE SELF – Willie Mullins, Declan Bates. Barrier 4.
Was charging home in the Geelong Cup of 2019, missing out to Prince of Arran. The veteran mare went on to easily win the Queen Elizabeth but a race of this calibre may be just outside her reach.

16. AKTAU – Michael Moroney, Daniel Moor. Barrier 1.
Good winner of the Mornington Cup but otherwise, you can have him – at whatever price you like. (Scratched Thursday morning)

17. TOFFE TONGUE – Chris Waller, Michael Dee. Barrier 5.
Another protege of the master C. Waller who won the Australasian Oaks in SA. Was excellent last time out running second to Verry Elleegant in Turnbull Stakes. Would surprise me but will have fans.

18. CHAPADA – Michael Moroney, Jye McNeil. Barrier 16.
Been racing well and got the kill he needed last week. A winner over 2400m and a winner at the track. Happy to have a ticket at the big quote.
19 RAHEEN HOUSE – Kris Lees, jockey TBC. Barrier 22.
Gained a start after Aktau was withdrawn. Drawn awful and will likely be the biggest outsider of the field.
20 SAN HUBERTO – Matt Cumani, Fred Kersley. Barrier 10
21 OCEANEX – Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr, Zac Spain. Barrier 8
22 LE DON DE VIE – Anthony & Sam Freedman, jockey TBC. Barrier 13

Watching the weather forecast will be crucial to this race. A dry few days and a good track will see me supremely confident of a victory to the best horse in the race, Anthony Van Dyck. He’s easily the highest rated horse in the race and is the one to beat. Can overcome barrier and top weight.
Should the track become soft, Verry Elleegant becomes the one to watch. She’s 6/10 on soft decks and is in ripping form.
Europeans Buckhurst and Dashing Willoughby will be winners for me whilst I am wary of Toffee Tongue and Master of Wine.
Chapada is probably my pick of the longshots.

1 Anthony Van Dyck $5.50
2 Dashing Willoughby $21
3 Verry Elleegant $5.50
4 Buckhurst $14

THE TAB EVEREST (1200m, $15,000,000)
1 NATURE STRIP – Chris Waller, James McDonald. Barrier 5.
Some have written him off as hopeless but when you forensically delve into his preparation, it’s easy to see he’s still the one to beat.
Farnan’s removal from the race should allow jockey James McDonald to lead without too much pressure.
IF things are back on track as the stable says and McDonald can pinch a steady furlong, I simply cannot see anything running him down. Will not miss top four.

2 TREKKING – James Cummings, Joshua Parr. Barrier 4.
Ran a mighty race in this race last season behind Yes Yes Yes. Won the Group 1 Goodwood over Gytrash in Adelaide and was charging late at Moonee Valley in the Moir.
A super consistent galloper who has had his supporters in early markets. I have a ticket at 15/1 which means I’ll be cheering home the blue silks.

3 CLASSIQUE LEGEND – Les Bridge, Kerrin McEvoy. Barrier 6.
Was so unlucky not to win The Everest last year but returns in ripping form. Excellent in the Concorde fresh up, then took care of Nature Strip until Libertini swooped on both. Gets back, probably peels wide and will be charging home as quick as anything.

4 SANTA ANA LANE – Anthony & Sam Freedman, Sam Clipperton. Barrier 8.
The veteran of 42 starts has seemingly left his best in the past but never overlook a champion with more than $7 million in the bank.
Should unexpected pressure be on, a storming Santa at 30/1 may be a cheeky ticket to have in your pocket.

5 BEHEMOTH – David Jolly, Nash Rawiller. Barrier 2.
The big South Australian has pounced onto the Group 1 scene with back-to-back victories in the Rupert Clarke and Memsie Stakes. Performs on good and soft tracks and the horse is in at least as good a form as anything going into this. Something close to $10 is more than fair.

6 BIVOUAC – James Cummings, Glen Boss. Barrier 10.
Was okay in The Shorts. His biggest win was a stunning Group 1 win in The Newmarket, beating Gytrash – among others.
Glen Boss takes the ride again and whilst it’s hard to see him winning, you can’t discount his class.

7 GYTRASH – Gordon Richards, Jason Collett. Barrier 7.
Speaking on radio, trainer Gordon Richards was very confident in this bloke’s chances. Has only missed top three once from 13 tries on good ground. Also 4/7 on soft so the versatility is there.
Knocked off Nature Strip fair and square on September 5.

8 EDUARDO – Joseph Pride, Rachel King. Barrier 9.
Eduardo takes the MiRunner slot with Rachel King in the saddle.
Will be up on the speed, potentially pestering Nature Strip but there’s no way he can battle for the front then kick and stave off a field of this calibre.

9 DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR – Tony & Calvin McEvoy, Tim Clark. Barrier 1.
A late entrant thanks to the withdrawal of Farnan.
The McEvoy barn always produce quality horses capable of winning any race they’re entered into. Ran along in the Rupert Clarke and was nabbed on the line. Is a huge price and could end up buried from gate one.

10 TOFANE – Michael Moroney, Tommy Berry. Barrier 11.
A talented mare who can sprint home with the best of them. Wide gate hurts because it’s hard to see the leaders stopping but she would not completely surprise.

11 LIBERTINI – Anthony Cummings, Regan Bayliss. Barrier 12.
Friendless in the markets after drawing 12 but her win over Nature Strip and Classique Legend was stunning. She burst onto the scene then was treading water for a while. That win showed she’s back better than ever and is 5/5 on good ground…
12 HAUT BRION HER – Chris Waller, Brenton Avdulla. Barrier 3.
The last horse into the race. A quality mare with a winning record but will she be getting involved against stable mate Nature Strip?
13 DEPRIVE – James Cummings, jockey TBC. Barrier 13.
14 SPECIAL REWARD – Kris Lee, jockey TBC. Barrier 14.
15 STANDOUT – Ryan & Alexiou, jockey TBC. Barrier 15.
16 TACTICAL ADVANTAGE – Kris Lees, jockey TBC. Barrier 16.

With the removal of Farnan, Nature Strip looks to have a few things in his favour with a nice alley (5) and little pressure up front.
Behemoth, Classique Legend and Trekking will be among a wall of horses trying to dive-bomb Nature Strip near the post.
No matter what people want to say, The Everest is a race that is here to stay and has peaked the interest of an enormous group of fans.
How can you not be interested in FIFTEEN MILL!?!

1 Nature Strip $4.50
2 Trekking $11
3 Behemoth $8
4 Tofane $20

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