Slot Holder: James Kennedy
Sebribg – Leonie Chiara
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
Owners: Mrs G M Waterhouse AO, RKH Thoroughbreds, Dr S Pazios, Golden Art Enterprise Inc, Mr G Bacon, Mrs J M Bacon, Mr B A Stracey, Friends Of Mr Ed 2, Hillside Parade Racing & Breeding, Mr G Anagnostopoulos, Mr S Fahiz, Ms R G Sprigg-McKinnie, Mr B J O’Brien, Mr A J Bott, Mr G B Medved, Mrs M Sottocornola
Jockey: Jean Van Overmeire
Embracer might not have been an obvious TAB Everest choice but slot holder James Kennedy is banking on the magic of Gai Waterhouse and the Group 1 winning spring form of her training partnership with Adrian Bott.
Kennedy, the Everest’s newest player having purchased the GPI Racing slot in 2021, was left in the unfortunate position of having to choose a runner at the 11th hour due to the injury to Queensland star Rothfire but feels he’s found a horse with a fighting chance.
It was Embracer’s career best effort to run third at weight-for-age behind Masked Crusader in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) that suggested to Kennedy that the six-year-old is capable of stepping up further.
“The Everest is a high-pressure race and I wanted a tough, seasoned sprinter,’’ Kennedy said.
“I feel he has had a good lead-up into The Everest and the Gai and Adrian stable has had a great spring so far.
“I’m confident Embracer will put in a good, tough performance, and I genuinely believe any of the 12 runners have a chance of winning the race this year, it’s that open.”
The Everest will be Embracer’s 20th start and Bott believes the decision to geld Embracer has been the making of him and allowed him to take some giant leaps.
Key to that is the horse no longer being a one-dimensional speedster.
“Being able to prove himself at weight-for-age last start that ticked a real big box,’’ he said.