How the Everest Was Established
When the Everest was established, it was done with the intention of bringing more recognition to Australian horseracing and also attracting more international thoroughbred owners to travel to Australia to increase the competition. The inaugural race was held in 2017 and was won by Redzel, a local thoroughbred horse that was trained by Peter and Paul Snowden and jockeyed by Kerrin McEvoy. The gelding was 5 years old at the time, and had already won a handful of Graded stakes in Australia. When Redzel finished the sprint, in 1 minute and 8.36 seconds he became the first winner of Everest and collected the first prize money of $5,800,000.
The following year, Redzel returned to the competition, with the same trainers and jockey, and won the race again, this time collecting a larger prize of $6,000,000.
In 2019, Yes Yes Yes won the race at odds of 8/1. The three year old Australian colt was entered by Coolmore Stud et al, an Irish thoroughbred breeder, and was trained by Hall of Fame Australian trainer Chris Waller. The colt was ridden by Glen Boss, an Australian jockey who won three consecutive Melbourne Cups in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Yes Yes Yes was very much the underdog, going into the Everest with only one graded career win at Todman Stakes. The colt set two records with his win, one for being the youngest horse to win the race and the second was the time in which he finished. In 1 minute and 7.32 seconds, Yes Yes Yes managed to beat Redzel's initial record set in the very first race. In 2020, the colt was forced to retire due to a tendon injury.
Kerrin McEvoy won the Everest once again in 2020 with gelding Classique Legend. The horse was owned by Boniface Ho and trained by Les Bridge, and he had already ran at the Everest in 2019 but finished sixth place. 2020 started well for the Australian gelding, as he won the June Stakes and the Shorts, and with jockey Kerrin McEvoy he managed to finish in first place, beating Bivouac by 2.5 lengths.
Nature Strip, a 7 year old Australian gelding, won the race in 2021. Owned by RAE Lyons and trained by Chris Waller from 2019 onwards, Nature Strip was the oldest and by far the most accomplished horse to win the Everest. The gelding started his career in 2017 and won many races such as the Moir Stakes, the Darley Sprint Classic (twice), the TJ Smith Stakes (three times) and the Concorde Stakes amongst more. The gelding was awarded Australian Sprinter of the Year for his accomplishments in 2021, which included the win at the Everest.
What Is the Royal Randwick Racecourse?
The Everest is run at the famous Royal Randwick Racecourse that is located in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales. The land on which the race is located is owned by the Crown and is leased to the Australian Turf Club. The racecourse was created in 1833 by New South Wales governor Richard Bourke, who wanted to create an alternative to Hyde Park in Sydney, which was being used for racing. The course was founded and races were held at it until 1840, when it was only used for training purposes. The Australian Jockey Club was created and moved its headquarters to Randwick in 1860. They reopened the grounds to racing and a total of 6,000 people attended races at the venue. It became known as the "Sandy Course" due to the condition of the turf.
In 1863, the land was officially granted to the Australian Jockey Club, who held it until they merged with the Sydney Turf Club in 2011 to become the Australian Turf Club. They are still the organisers for all of the events held at the racecourse.
In 1992, Queen Elizabeth II, an avid horseracing owner and fan, visited the Randwick Racecourse whilst on her tour of Australia. The Queen and the Duke of York enjoyed their visit to the racecourse so much that the Queen decided to legitimise the traditional title of "Royal" to the racecourse and open a new Grandstand. The $22.5 million Grandstand was built and named in her honour.
The buildings on the Royal Randwick Racecourse include the Queen Elizabeth II Grandstand, the Members Stand, the Theatre of the Horse, the Saddling Paddock Tote Building and the Owners Pavilion.
The Queen Elizabeth II Grandstand is the main building that was originally constructed in 1969 but received a complete renovation in 2012 and opened to the public in 2013.
The Members Stand is a building overlooking the racing track that was built in 1886, though it was renovated in parts in 1907, 1914 and 1920.
The Theatre of the Horse is an outdoor auditorium where guests and visitors can view the horses both before and after a race. The venue has a capacity of 4,500 and has a tunnel that links straight to the track.
The Saddling Paddock Tote Building is a building that is used as an event space and a bar on race days, and it is located directly behind the main grandstand.
The Owners Pavilion is next to the Theatre of the Horse and is a private place for racehorse owners. It was created at the same time as the Theatre of the Horse and the Queen Elizabeth Stand, in 2013.
What Makes the Everest So Interesting?
Needless to say, the main talking point about Everest is the massive $15 million AUD purse. This is double the prize funds of the second richest flat turf race in the world, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which has a €5 million prize pool (worth approximately $7.5 million AUD). Whilst this is the main reason why the race stands out, there are numerous other reasons that make this race so interesting to watch.
The race is held in October, and is one of the main events of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival. The event in Sydney was always overshadowed by the Melbourne counterpart, the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival that featured some classic races such as the Caulfield Cup, the Cox Plate, the Victoria Derby and most importantly the Melbourne Cup.
The event organisers at the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival approved of the new race, Everest, in the hopes that it would attract a younger audience. The race is a sprint, which is one of the classic formats in Australian horseracing, and it is only open to the best thoroughbred sprinters. Whilst the main event in the country is the Melbourne Cup, the Everest did not take long to become the second most viewed race, and that not only helped the racing in Sydney become more popular but it also provides healthy competition to the Melbourne Cup, to show that Australia has a lot to offer for international breeders and thoroughbred owners.