By Ray Hickson
Star four-year-old Kementari is out of The Everest mix but trainer James Cummings hasn’t given up on Godolphin producing a late contender.
Cummings said the decision was made to focus on races around the mile with Kementari, who was third favourite for the $13 million TAB Everest, despite believing he would run “a big race’’ in the feature sprint.
Attention could turn to Godolphin’s import Home Of The Brave, who takes on current favourite Trapeze Artist in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on Saturday, as a left-field chance of securing one of the final two available slots.
“We’ve decided to take the Everest off the table (with Kementari),’’ Cummings said on Sky Sports Radio.
“A massive amount of X Factor comes with him. We think the horse would run a big race in The Everest but we feel he will be more effective at a mile.
“By going to the mile we’ll give him a two or three times better chance of winning a Group 1 at his next start.’’
The Australian Turf Club and the Max Whitby/Neil Werrett group are the remaining slot holders.
With Kementari out of the mix, Trapeze Artist remains favourite with TAB at $4.50 ahead of defending champ Redzel ($5), last year’s runner-up Vega Magic ($7) and the boom four-year-old Nature Strip ($8) who is yet to secure a slot.
Cummings, who will produce the smart Viridine against Nature Strip in Melbourne this weekend in a McEwen Stakes that also features Everest runner Shoals, said Godolphin is keen to participate in Australia’s richest race.
“We love the race, there’ll be a horse in there (from us) I hope very soon,’’ he said.
“It has created this amazing buzz around every sprint race.
“Who is to say we don’t have a horse that will jump out of the ground. We have Home Of The Brave racing against the Everest favourite on Saturday and Viridine taking on one of the Everest elects.’’
Home Of The Brave and Viridine are both on the $51 line with TAB.
Meanwhile, Coolmore’s Everest runner U S Navy Flag completed some solid work at home overnight as he prepares to travel to Sydney abd he’s expected to arrive at the Canterbury Quarantine Centre on September 22.