Aquis Takes “Educated” Everest Gamble On Farnan

By Ray Hickson

By locking in Golden Slipper winner Farnan as their TAB Everest runner, Aquis managing director Shane McGrath says they’re taking an “educated gamble” on a colt they have complete faith in.

Aquis managing director Shane McGrath (Pic: Racing & Sports)

The decision to commit to Farnan, and miss the Golden Rose, raised some eyebrows after the colt was unplaced in the Run To The Rose last weekend but McGrath said it’s a matter of picking the race you want to win.

He said the colt’s managing owners Kia Ora concluded that race is the $15m TAB Everest.

“Being a Slipper winner you identify certain races to go on his CV to add to his credentials and we no doubt identify the Everest is one,’’ McGrath said.

“To give him every opportunity you have to set him for one grand final and the decision has been made to pinpoint the Everest as his spring grand final and we leave it to Gai and Adrian to get him there.

“It’s an educated gamble in my opinion. We’re talking about a horse who was the dominant two-year-old of his generation, he is a Golden Slipper winner.

“We put a line through his last run and if you take that out of the equation everyone would apply the same logic.”

Aquis is a staunch supporter of the Everest concept and has been around the mark with their selections so far but Farnan isn’t the first three-year-old they’ve asked to take on the best sprinters around.

The filly Houtzen ran seventh, beaten three lengths, in the inaugural Everest after leading, Trapeze Artist ran second for Aquis in 2018 and last year Pierata finished a close fifth.

“The best sprinters are assembled, it’s an absolute flagship race and a race that is going to stand the test of time,’’ McGrath said.

“When we look back over history you’ll see most of Australia’s best sprinters will have either won it or competed in it and that’s what you’re looking for from a colt’s point of view as well.”

In Farnan, McGrath said there’s plenty to say, through giving Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott a month to refocus the colt, he fits the bill especially given the win of Yes Yes Yes a year ago.

He won five from six as a two-year-old, including the Todman Stakes and the Slipper, and Aquis is backing him to rebound to his best form.

“He’s a horse with ideal credentials. He’s going to race on his home track, 1200m, I think he will appreciate the Randwick track, he’ll get the weight relief,’’ he said.

“We’ve seen that three-year-olds can win the race.

“From that point of view I was comfortable and having brought Kia Ora in, who are now the managing partner of the horse, there was a frank discussion with them from an owners perspective and they’re delighted to head down that track.

“Hopefully he gets there safe and sound and if he produces his best I’m sure it will be good enough.”

Farnan wins the Golden Slipper in March

The task now for Waterhouse and Bott is to regroup after the colt’s disappointing first-up performance, regardless of the controversy around it.

Bott said on Sky Racing that Farnan has taken no harm from the Run To The Rose and while the colt won’t contest the Golden Rose it hasn’t been decided yet whether he’ll go straight to the Everest or have a run in between.

“(The Everest) is the main target now, we’ve been very fortunate to be given that opportunity by Aquis,’’ he said.

“That means at this early stage we will be missing the Golden Rose and we’ll put together another preparation towards the Everest which is exciting.

“He had a nice gallop the other morning and showed he came through the race in excellent shape.”