Everest slot holder Damion Flower says he will exhaust international options for his 2019 runner before looking locally.
Though Flower said he had “some bites’’ over the weekend he revealed he’s already attempted to secure an unbeaten UK-trained colt and a Group 1 winning Japanese sprinter.
Those horses are Calyx, who has won three from three for John Gosden, and Mr Melody who claimed the Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) at his last start in March.
“I tried to get Calyx, he’s a Kingman colt, but they wanted to keep him there another year so I dipped out there,’’ Flower said.
“I looked at Mr Melody, who probably would have been ideal but the owner just wants to race him at home. I had a couple of bites this weekend but I'm sitting back waiting, as usual.’’
Flower said he’s had interest from connections of an older American sprinter and, unless there’s an offer that’s too good to refuse, will continue looking offshore until the Royal Ascot carnival next month.
In the two editions of The Everest, this year run for $14 million at Royal Randwick on October 19, Flower has been represented by Clearly Innocent (sixth in 2017) and he originally selected English last year but when that mare lost form he picked up Viddora who ran tenth.
Five months out from the race there are already three slots confirmed – Pierata for Aquis Farm, Santa Ana Lane for TAB and boom sprinter Classique Legend for owner Bon Ho and Carmel Size Racing who purchased the GPI slot for 2019.
Never shy of doing a bit of speculating, Flower said he expects a few more slot holders to lock in their horses sooner rather than later.
“I reckon there's about eight horses you could name that probably will be in there so that only leaves four,’’ he said.
“I reckon people might go off a little bit earlier this year.’’
One horse Flower is ruling out as a contender is his own sprinter Sandbar, trained by Brad Widdup, who he had earmarked last year as a horse that he hoped would step up in 2019.
But the colt had his autumn preparation cut short with a throat issue.
“He won't make it this year. He raced really well first-up then in the second race his throat went,’’ he said.
“He's had an operation which was very successful but we will give him time to chill.’’
So what is Flower looking for in his Everest runner?
TJ Smith Stakes winner Santa Ana Lane is TAB favourite at $5 ahead of Osborne Bulls ($7), Pierata ($8) and Classique Legend at $9. Dual winner Redzel is one of four horses on the $11 line.
“In the TJ he demolished them, in the Everest (last year) he couldn't pick up his feet and get going,’’ he said of Santa Ana Lane.
“He needs a few things to go right, he's a great horse but he gets back. I want a horse that's going to be adaptable to everything.’’
Randwick hosts The Everest on October 19th, picture ThoroughbredNEWS