Espiona and Shinzo have secured their spots in The Everest, as the final lineup for the $20 million Royal Randwick sprint on 14 October is all but decided.
On Tuesday morning, slot-holder Chris Waller Racing confirmed last-start Golden Pendant winner Espiona as their runner, with champion jockey Hugh Bowman booked to ride.
Other slot-holders, Coolmore, also declared Shinzo as their runner in the feature event, putting to rest once and for all that the star sprinting mare Imperatriz will not participate in The Everest. This decision reaffirms what was already made clear by connections: Imperatriz was intended to stay in Melbourne from the outset.
With Espiona and Shinzo making the cut, the confirmed The Everest starters now stand at 11, with only Yulong yet to reveal their choice.
However, it is highly likely that Yulong will opt for the former English sprinter Alcohol Free, who delivered a strong performance by finishing fourth in the Premiere Stakes last Saturday.
If Alcohol Free is indeed chosen, the Everest lineup will feature three mares—In Secret, Espiona, and Alcohol Free—as well as the promising three-year-old colts Cylinder and Shinzo. Additionally, the field will include seasoned contenders Think About It, I Wish I Win, Private Eye, Overpass, Mazu, Hawaii Five Oh, and Buenos Noches.
Along with Hong Kong-based Bowman set to ride in The Everest, champion Hong Kong jockey Zac Purton will also feature in the race, as he partners Godolphin’s runner In Secret.