Since the start of 2017, Saturday the 14th October was destined to be a big day. It would become a day that history would be created with the inaugural running of the Richest Race on Turf in the world, $10 million dollar TAB Everest. For many months we have learnt so much about this new concept that was added to the Australian Racing Calendar as the details became clearer and the date nearing closer, the anticipation began to rise. It seemed everyone had an opinion on social media about the concept and if it would take off or if it would be a huge flop.
As we neared closer to the date, the shape of the field took place and before long we had The Chosen 12. Twelve of Australiaâ€™s best sprinters would battle against each other for the richest prize in Australian Racing. Then like tradition came the barrier draw and the unveiling of the colours that the runners would wear. It, for some, was this point that the excitement began to kick in and the hype around the Everest had arrived. Social media produced a flurry of various discussion threads around who our picks were to take out the inaugural event, discussions such as â€œthe grey flashâ€™s grand finalâ€, â€œwill the $20k filly add to her prize moneyâ€, â€œGai has English flyingâ€ and so on.
The big day arrives, and you know this day is going to be different to any other race day.
Weather on the day is less than ideal, gray skies with the threat of rain and a little wind – definitely a day for accessorising the race day outfit with a coat. The weather was not going to deter anyone from being part of this monumental day. Crowds took advantage of the free travel by Sydney Trains and Sydney Buses, as they made their way to what was going to be the Greatest Show in Racing- Royal Randwick.
Unlike any other circus, this one does not have performing monkeys or lions instead the atmosphere on course was phenomenal, really hard to describe. Everyone that was walking through the gates was buzzing, the excitement was a different feel to any other big race day- the adrenaline was pumping knowing it was going to be a day of action packed racing as well as being spoilt for an array of different things to visit on course.
One important thing to do while at the races is to capture that winning outfit by taking up one of the many opportunities to have your photo taken at various locations around the track.
Another regular photo opportunity is #The Races photo wall located in a new marquee just near the entry to the Members. Not to mention the returning “The Star” jesters located near the Octagonal lawn who would entice you to have a snap taken with the cards. This day being as special as it was SHEIKE also brought along a gorgeous setting that encouraged people to have a snap taken and to upload to Instagram, with the chance to win a $500 shopping spree.
Other photo opportunities that existed around the race course also included having your photo with painted horses that represented the 12 runners in the Everest. Lastly, The Star also had photographers that would walk around and invite people to have their photo taken to be shared on social media. So lots of opportunities to be seen and to have the important race day photo taken, so that in the future you can look back on it and remember that you were part of history.
Racing is not just all about the horses, there is just as much action off the field as on the track. All this hype of activity is usually in the near vicinity to the Fashion Chute hosted by Vogue. Â The effort that both the ladies and the gents had gone to was … Â without doubt … truly outstanding.
A new theme for this day has been launched being, WHITE with a touch of SKY BLUE.
The Main Show- The Everest
The day passes quickly and before long, the lead up to the main event has arrived. The Theatre of the Horse quickly fills, people packing the parade ring to look at the Special 12 being paraded in front of the public and of course their very nervous connections in the owners enclosure. All eyes are now on Royal Randwick, the ATC, Racing NSW and Sydney.
The jockeys are first brought out and introduced, then we are all asked to be up standing for the national anthem sung by the very talented Samantha Jade, the applause after the performance from the mounting yard is deafening- can only imagine what it sounds like in the grand stands and members reserve.
It is then time for the stars, the horses enter the mounting yard after being paraded in front of the crowd. One by one the horses are discussed by industry professionals for the various networks televising the big event.
Before long the jockeys mount up and one last lap of the mounting yard is done before the horses reenter the tunnel and head out onto the track in the history making event. As the horses moved around to the barriers, the crowd of 33,512 watched on- waiting forÂ the gates to crash open and the field to jump on their way to the richest 1200m in global racing on turf.
As the gates do crash open the roar from the crowd is deafening and possibly could have been heard for a fair distance from the track, the jockeys battle for their positions and look to settle their mounts. The horses cut up the turf to the cheers of the crowd, the finishing line and the history books etching closer.
The winner of the inaugural running of The Everest is Redzel (Snitzel x Millrich), trained by the father/son duo of Peter and Paul Snowden, for Triple Crown Syndications, ridden by reigning Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy.
All connections involved with the horse were coming to terms with what had just happened as the stunning trophy was handed over. Â There was plenty of cheers from all those in the ownership group as the eyes of the world also looked on as they celebrated their win.
Final race is run and won by an $80 long shot, Newcastle trained Grand Condor (also know the owners of) causing an upset in the last which was also an eventful racing with two jockeys being dislodged, all reports are that both jockeys are ok and the horses were unharmed- even continuing to run in the race rider less.
After the last race had been run, the only race left was to get to the Theatre of the Horse for the only 60 minute concert by international superstar guest Jason Derulo. Within minutes the crowd had multiplied and even commentators throughout the day said that potentially the crowd was only at the capacity it reached simply for the concert. People were let into the area in front of the stage and before long the man that we all flocked to see embraced the stage and definitely did not disappoint and well worth waiting around for.
While the weather held off for the racing, it sure did not hold off for the concert- although encouraging some to run for cover, most danced and sung in the rain enjoying the entertainment, what a show it was!
The day and the race lived up to expectations for all racing enthusiasts. What this race will evolve into is something to be seen but could potentially attract international raiders – just like the Melbourne Cup – those wanting to come and compete for this prestigious prize in global racing.
CONGRATS to the Australian Turf Club. There was so much on. There were so many amazing people.
What a show!
To all who attended – there is not one person on the planet to have seen the first Melbourne Cup however we, on 14 OCTOBER 2017 experienced the FIRST EVEREST. We are all part of history. THOROUGHBRED EVENTS AUSTRALIA are incredibly proud to be PART OF THIS DAY. Thank you again to the Australian Turf Club,Â Racing NSWÂ andÂ TAB. It was a huge risk but SYDNEY and ROYAL RANDWICK are now on the world map.