John O'Shea hasn't given up on Lost And Running (NZ) making a late bid for an Everest berth, despite his unplaced first-up performance in the Shorts.
The scratching of reigning champion Giga Kick on Saturday with a muscle tear means slot holder James Harron is back in the market for a runner, while Godolphin, Coolmore, Yulong Investments and Chris Waller Racing are still to fill their respective spots.
Lost And Running (NZ) had a torrid run from a wide draw in the Shorts, forced to race four and five wide early and while he made a brief bid at the 300m, he knocked up late to finish just under five lengths from winner Private Eye.
Given the circumstances, O'Shea was unperturbed by the result and pointed to the gelding's effort in the 2021 Shorts where he finished last, beaten almost nine lengths, then turned that around to finish solid fourths in both the Premiere Stakes and that year's Everest.
"When he ran fourth in the Everest two years ago, he ran in The Shorts and ran eight lengths last," O'Shea said. "He got beaten four-and-a-half the other Saturday, so I reckon he's going alright.
"He goes to the Premiere. We just have to hope for an economical run going forward."
Lost And Running (NZ) is still in the hunt for an Everest slot; picture sportpix.com.au
A three-time winner second-up, Lost And Running (NZ) has endured a frustrating run of misfortune over the past 12 months.
He took out the Premiere Stakes (1200m) last year in an effort that had him towards the top of Everest markets before his race morning scratching due to lameness.
In the autumn, his carnival was restricted to just two starts and he was out of luck both times, drawing the outside gate in the T J Smith and All Aged Stakes and over-racing badly in the latter when assuming an uncustomary leadership role.
A strong field is again expected for the Premiere Stakes (1200m) and while no horse has yet claimed the Premiere Stakes-Everest double, it has been a useful guide. Classique Legend finished runner-up in the 2020 Premiere then went one better in the world's richest turf sprint, while Masked Crusader won the first leg in 2021 before going down narrowly to Nature Strip in the showpiece.
Ben Melham will ride Lost And Running (NZ) in the Premiere Stakes.