Where Does The Inferno Fit?

Saturday’s McEwen Stakes winner The Inferno put his name forward as a possible Everest runner – so where does he fit?

THE INFERNO winning the McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley in Australia.
THE INFERNO winning the McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley in Australia. Picture: Racing Photos

As it stands we already have five runners locked away: Nature Strip, Masked Crusader, Classique Legend, Lost And Running and Gytrash.

Godolphin would have been pleased with Trekking's return on Saturday and he looks the most likely to take their spot.

Not sure who runs for Coolmore that is very much up in the air.

Rothfire and Eduardo appear the next in line leaving three slots remaining.

The Anthony Cummings trained Libertini  started 5-1 in the race last year and with a Timeform master rating of 118 she has to be considered a leading chance to gain a start again with the stable hoping to run her first up.

The three-year-olds always create a bit of interest but the top end looks to be thin on the sprinting front.

Group 1 winners Anamoe, Converge, Captivant and Artorius are more likely to meet the older horses in a Cox Plate as opposed to an Everest.

Sure the Golden Rose quinella will be pushed as leading chances to run in the Everest however if the cards fall as expected, I highly doubt it.

That leaves us with two spots and looking at the early market The Inferno would have to be as good a chance as any.

Rated 113 by Timeform following his success in the 2020 Lion City Cup, The Inferno left Singapore as one of the highest rated horses in the last 10 years.

Trainer Cliff Brown was no stranger to saddling up Singapore's best headed by Debt Collector (Debt Agent) who won five Group 1's for Brown between 2016 and 2018.

Star sprinter Zac Spirit also won two Lion City Cups in the year's prior with 2016 a stand-out season for Brown, notching up five Group 1 wins (Lion City Cup, Singapore Guineas, QE11 Cup, Kranji Mile & Raffles Cup).

At his peak Debt Collector was rated 113 by Timeform and the pronounced champion of Singapore.

He rounded out his career in Singapore in May 2019, with The Inferno winning on debut just two months later.

Replacing a horse of Debt Collector's stature is never easy though Brown didn't have to wait long with The Inferno rated his equal within 18 months.

Lion City Cup 2020 (Inferno)

The Lion City Cup was The Inferno's biggest test, he had toyed with his own age group but there was nowhere to hide against Singapore's best sprinters.

Drawn wide he adopted his customary position towards the rear of the field, travelling strongly in the running line (three-wide).

Enjoying the fast tempo, he pulled the widest on straightening and just tanked up, hitting the front passing the 300m and raced away to score by 2.3L.

Not since Rocket Man in 2012 has a horse won the Lion City Cup by such a margin, emphasising Inferno's dominance.

Now before getting too carried away, The Inferno is a long, long way off Rocket Man but it's still historically significant.

Off his game in his Australian debut he quickly bounced back at the Valley last weekend returning a new Timeform master rating of 115.

So where does a figure of 115 have him in the Everest pecking order?

Well for starters it would have seen him finish second in the Concorde Stakes behind Nature Strip, not a bad audition at all.

Click here to read more about the rocket that is Nature Strip

The average winning Timeform rating for The Everest is 126 with a rating of 115 seeing you finish top five in three of four years.

If able to improve off that 115 mark (we feel he can) a figure of 121 would see you finish inside the top three in all four years - in laymen's terms he's got ~2L to find.

A winner of 10 of his 12 starts he is currently rated higher (marginally) than Lost And Running, is the same age and still has upside.

I don't think it matters too much where he races next as if he runs >120 he'll be in the Everest.

Over to you Cliff no pressure.

Racing and Sports