Racegoers party during a Jason Derulo concert after The Everest Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse on October 14 last year. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images
Racegoers party during a Jason Derulo concert after The Everest Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse on October 14 last year. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images

ATC changes Everest tactics

THE Australian Turf Club has given up finding an international runner for its Everest slot and instead has up to 10 local sprinters in its  sights for the $13 million feature at Randwick on October 13.

If Wesley Ward sends Diamond Jubilee Stakes third place-getter Bound For Nowhere to Australia on a July 19 flight, as planned last week, he'll do so with the knowledge the horse isn't guaranteed a start in the 1200m race.

Acting ATC chief executive James Heddo says the club has changed its tactics and will go for a local.

"He's doing that off his own steam and we certainly haven't committed to that horse as our Everest representative," Heddo said.

"The July Cup meeting (last Saturday) seems to be the cut-off point as to make a decision on whether to come (to the Everest) or not and it does now look like our opportunities are closed internationally.

"Right now we're exploring all of our options. Without pinpointing any, there's a few domestically that are quite appealing to the ATC."

The ATC will have a board meeting next Monday and The Everest will be high on the agenda.

Doncaster Handicap winner Happy Clapper could come into contention for a spot in The Everest. Picture: AAP
Doncaster Handicap winner Happy Clapper could come into contention for a spot in The Everest. Picture: AAP

The decision to go after an Australian-based sprinter brings into contention horses such as Happy Clapper, Nature Strip, Menari, Le Romain and Pierata.

Heddo said the ATC was looking at roughly 10 Australian sprinters but would not release a short list of possible contenders like it did last year.

"Everyone's still learning and working out the best way (to pick a horse) and it's enthralling to be a part of it," Heddo said.

"We'll have a close look at some of the opportunities domestically but we're not rushing at this stage."

The ATC had been keen to secure an international runner for its Everest slot this year and if they got one it would have come out of the Royal Ascot carnival or July Cup, which was won by US Navy Flag. He will race in Coolmore's slot.

"We'd like to be a part of ensuring its global appeal and having US Navy Flag is outstanding for the race and we'd like to think that in years to come the big international stables will not only target The Everest but races like the St Leger and Craven Plate," Heddo said.

"At some stage in the next five years we're hoping that a Japanese sprinter will emerge too."