By Ray Hickson
Trainer James Cummings has revealed he believes three-year-old Paulele is a future TAB Everest runner for Godolphin but he’s confident hardened campaigner Trekking is the right horse for the job in the 2021 edition.
The seven-year-old Trekking has been a competitor in the past two runnings of the $15m TAB Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick for a third and a fourth and Cummings said on Sky Sports Radio he’s earned the right to represent the team.
“We were very, very close. That horse (Paulele) no doubt in our minds probably had more chance of actually winning the race for Godolphin,’’ Cummings said.
“In a funny way we’d actually lean towards Trekking given that he had already been there at weight-for-age, he’s been handling that pressure for so long.
“He’s a proper horse, Trekking. He epitomises what it’s like to be a great Australian sprinter.
“Don’t forget he represented us in the Golden Slipper as a two-year-old and he’s trained on now to be a multiple Group 1 winner.
“He was really brave in two attempts at the race already and it tells us he copes with pressure.”
Paulele will be reserved for a Group 1 target in Melbourne but Cummings said there are plenty of compelling reasons why the colt was a good candidate for this year but feels the horse will be tougher come 2022.
After his win in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last Saturday, Paulele was a $13 chance with TAB in the Everest – Trekking was $34 on Thursday.
“He would look, in the form guide, fantastic on a seven day back up on what, let’s face it, is looking like a wet track and he’s unbeaten four from four at Randwick,’’ Cummings said.
“Paulele is the type of horse we might be back here in 12 months time to be our Everest horse. In the meantime we can take pressure off him by going and converting with a Group 1.”
Trekking will be ridden by Josh Parr for the third straight year in the Everest and it’ll be the first time they’ve combined since finishing fourth behind Classique Legend a year ago.
Cummings said the gelding’s two runs back have shown he’s racing in top form, though he hasn’t won since May 2020 when he took out Goodwood in Adelaide, and just hopes sunshine arrives on Saturday to dry the track out as much as possible.
“I think he’s going well enough third-up with the (Group 1) Moir next to his name, it’s good enough form for him to be a competitive chance,” he said.
“He is the type of horse who is better on firm ground and that would be desirable, but that’s not going to happen.”
The popular but enigmatic Kementari holds one of the four emergency spots for the TAB Everest but Cummings says the Group 3 $500,000 Moet & Chandon Sydney Stakes (1200m) is probably more in his wheelhouse.
Kementari, $4.60 with TAB on Thursday, arrived in time to win the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes first-up at Flemington and while he is yet to see a heavy track wet ground hasn’t troubled him in the past.
“He was fantastic down the straight first-up. He beat Zoutori who’s a Group 1 sprinter in his own right, the winner of a (Group 1) Newmarket,” he said.
“He can win the Sydney Stakes, he’s never seen a heavy track in his career.
“He’s the type of horse when he gets up and wins. He gets a lot of emotion out of the entire Godolphin operation.”