By Ray Hickson
James Harron is no stranger to making the right move at the right time in the TAB Everest and he’s confident he has chosen wisely in locking in former Singapore star The Inferno as his slot’s representative in next month’s $15m sprint classic.
On the back of the five-year-old’s eye-catching second in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night, Harron wasted no time in confirming a deal with trainer Cliff Brown and owner Glenn Whittenbury.
“I just think he brings something new to the race,’’ Harron said.
“He’s been set for the race so he’s going to be fit and hopefully peaking at his fourth start. The 1200m at a big track like Randwick is going to be right up his alley.
“I think there are a lot of indicators to say he could have a real peak rating for the race.”
Harron won the inaugural TAB Everest, selecting Redzel on the back of a win in The Shorts a month out from the race.
The Inferno has now had 12 starts for nine wins and two seconds and in Singapore and he only tasted defeat once winning eight races up to 1600m.
He’s a $15 chance in TAB’s all-in Everest market.
Harron said the gelding’s second-up win in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley put him right on the radar for an Everest slot, so much so there had been several discussions prior to the Moir with connections.
“Glenn just wanted to get through last night before making any decisions,’’ he said.
“As soon as he ran the way he did I sent through some details and it was locked away. Between the owner and Cliff they were great to deal with.
“When you look at the horse’s position, given he has won up to a mile, it was a pretty unsuitable race so for him to reel off the sectionals and try so hard we might look back and say that was an incredible run.
“I just love that they’ve been 100 per cent targeting this race, that’s such an important thing.”
Cliff Brown revealed himself as a big fan of the TAB Everest concept earlier this month and he’s rapt that the plan to get The Inferno into the race has come off.
He returned earlier this year after 12 years in Singapore and said a desire to test The Inferno against the best sprinters on the planet was a big part in bringing the horse to Australia.
“I actually thought he’s the best horse I’ve ever trained, now I haven’t trained Winx or anything, but we’ve had Group 1 winners before and he was the one I thought ‘gosh he is really good’,’’ Brown said.
“When the racing changed in Singapore and the feature races were cut back it was a case of we’ve got to come back and see where he’s at.
“In fairness he’s got to measure up again. I think he can but once again you are going to the next grade.”
While it appeared The Inferno loomed up to win the Moir but was fought off by Wild Ruler, Brown said the horse’s performance was enormous in the context of the race.
And he’s itching to get to a truly run 1200m on a big track.
“When you go through his sectionals over the whole race he sustained a pretty long run off high pressure,’’ he said.
“He’s a horse that I think if he had 1200m it would have suited him better. When you look at Wild Ruler he had a beautiful run the whole way, and full credit to him, but he didn’t have to do what we had to.”