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Calls grow louder for The Everest to be given Group 1 status after Nature Strip’s epic win.
The Everest has recorded the highest ratings of any sprint race in the world this year, enhancing the push for the rich Royal Randwick sprint to be given Group 1 status.
And the voice of Australian sport, Bruce McAvaney, has joined the growing chorus for The Everest to be elevated to racing's elite level.
"For the pattern to hold up and be relevant, The Everest must be made a Group 1," McAvaney said.
Nature Strip, the world's number one-rated sprinter, held off Masked Crusader and Eduardo in an epic Everest finish at Randwick on Saturday.
Timeform's Gary Crispe revealed The Everest rated 126, which he said was "one of the strongest field strength values that we have measured."
"The Everest was equal to strongest race we have seen run in Australia in the last 12 months," Crispe said.
"Certainly, the 126 figure ranks up there with any sprint race on the world stage."
Crispe's Timeform analysis of The Everest again underlines the fact the Randwick sprint is a Group 1 in everything but name only.
There were six individual Group 1 winners and last year's The Everest hero in a top-class field and the race lived up to the hype with an exciting finish where less than a half-length separated the three placegetters.
Interstate politics has prevented The Everest from being recognised as a Group 1 race while many other races around the nation have a dubious hold to that honour.
For the pattern committee to approve The Everest for Group 1 status, it requires the unanimous approval of all racing states and territories. But Victoria has vetoed the recommendations previously.
The Everest passes every criteria needed for Group 1 status including the $15 million race prizemoney which dwarfs any other race in the southern hemisphere, the publicity it generates nationally and internationally, the betting the race generates and the prestige participants have for the Randwick sprint.
McAvaney, who was interviewed on Brisbane's RadioTAB on Monday, said the Caulfield Cup has been the beneficiary of The Everest juggernaut.
"This race day with The Everest and Caulfield Cup has become singularly the biggest day in Australian racing," McAvaney said.
"Can you imagine if we didn't have The Everest? Without it, this day on Saturday we would have been much the poorer."
McAvaney said all The Everest needs now is some international representation and more of the gun three-year-old colts to take on the older sprinters.
If the common-sense decision was made to give The Everest rightful Group 1 status, then it would be even more enticing for owners and trainers of international sprinters and three-year-olds to contest the race.
Godolphin's brilliant colt Paulele could well have run in The Everest if it had Group 1 status, but instead he is being aimed at the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day.
Crispe said Nature Strip returned a 127 Timeform rating winning The Everest, which was just below his career-best 129 he went to winning the TJ Smith Stakes earlier this year.
But Masked Crusader and Eduardo both ran to a 125 figure which was the highest figure either horse has recorded in their race careers.
"Our numbers show that Nature Strip is clearly a better horse in autumn than he is in spring," Crispe said.
"But Nature Strip's win in The Everest was his highest spring rating since he won the Darley Classic at Flemington two years ago.
"Masked Crusader's run was enormous and he produced a career-best effort to finish second, an increase of three ratings points on his William Reid Stakes win earlier this year.
"Eduardo ran to an equal career-best 125 which he has also returned in The Galaxy and The Shorts this year."
Online article taken from Herald Sun, published on Monday, 18th October 2021, Author, Ray Thomas.