At 4.15pm on Saturday Josh Parr expects to go through a similar experience to his first ride in The TAB Everest in 2017 on Deploy when the packed stands of Randwick produce a noise ‘like nothing I have heard before’.
That year was the first running of the $14 million invitation race over 1200m and Parr’s Deploy had won the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes over 1300m at Rosehill before The Everest, but he found the mountain too tough finishing ninth.
Last week Parr was not going to be starting in this year’s renewal of the race, but Godolphin’s well named Trekking changed that when he threaded a path into the race through winning the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes over 1100m at Caulfield last Saturday and gaining the Melbourne Racing Club’s slot for The Everest.
Parr had just won the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes over 2000m on Shadow Hero and he watched as Kerrin McEvoy brought the five-year-old Street Cry gelding home over fellow Sydney-sider Ball Of Muscle.
On Thursday Parr was at Godolphin’s Osborne Park to check on Trekking and he recalled the 2017 experience as vividly as if it was last Saturday.
“In the first year I rode in it behind the gates when the first horse started to load you could hear the crowd start to get louder, it is just a really loud hum or a murmur. When the gates opened the crowd was loud and then turning for home it was like nothing I have heard before,” he said.
Josh Parr chats with Trekking while the five-year-old Street Cry gelding gets his brush over after morning work, picture ThoroughbredNEWS
The race brings pressure of months of industry discussion and build up and the world’s largest stake money for a turf race adds another layer on top of the usual big race pressure.
“When there is that amount of money on offer it is a pressure built environment,” said Parr.
“In the pre-race there are a few different things that happen, the weighing out system is different, you have to weight your body weight and your saddle, the stewards’ call you in pre-race and give you a stern talking to of what they expect, there is just a build-up of pressure before the event.
“I think most jockeys would say the same, when you leave the Theatre Of The Horse out onto the track you are in your own environment then and everything starts to settle down and you can take stock a little bit.
“But it is definitely a high pressure race,” he said.
Trekking’s passage was through the Group 1 Moir Stakes over 1000m at The Valley on September 27th. He was eighth under McEvoy. That race tuned the 2019 Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap winner up for the Schillaci Stakes which he won smoothly by a half-length and both he and Parr were into The Everest with McEvoy committed to two-times Everest winner Redzel.
“The team have done a great getting him here in the condition that you can see, he has a great shine to his coat and he looks so relaxed standing here. I am delighted to see him in this way and to see him in this environment and get that little bit closer,” said Parr.
“I suppose he flies under the radar, definitely it takes a little bit of pressure off. Obviously I do not approach it in that manner, I am out there to win and I believe he has a chance to do so, a very fit horse as you can see, it is all guns blazing from me.
“It is remarkable the prize money in Sydney and especially for The Everest, the richest turf race in world and I am delighted to part of that.
“I think the first year there was a lot of unknown as to what to expect with The Everest, what crowd it would bring and what atmosphere and what the actual race would be like. I think three years in now it is very evident how big the event is.
“Obviously there is a lot of advertising that has helped to bring the crowd and it is a very enthusiastic crowd, the atmosphere is incredible on the day and this year as far as the race is concerned ten of the twelve runners are Group 1 winners.
“I think the race itself is as good as it gets anywhere in the world,” he said.
Trekking, a winner of two from two over 1200m at Randwick, is currently at $26.00 with TAB’s market with Santa Ana Lane the favourite at $4.40 over Arcadia Queen at $4.80. Trekking has barrier five and has won nine from 18, with four placings, on Good rated tracks.
On Saturday Parr will hear another roar like he has never heard before should he and Trekking scale the mountain.
The Everest is Race 7 on the 10 race programme.
Trekking gets the full media treatment on Thursday morning, picture ThoroughbredNEWS