Redzel is now second favourite for next month’s $10 million Everest (Lisa Grimm)
Although most of us didn’t realise it at the time, Redzel’s all-the-way victory in April’s Group Three Hall Mark Stakes had at least elevated him to ‘base camp’.
Chris Ward – who with brother, Michael, runs Triple Crown Syndications – said at the time that Redzel would likely head to the Group One Doomben 10,000 in May and “who knows, maybe the $10 million The Everest in October”.
Prescience or pipe dream?
Well, as it turns out, Ward’s meticulous nature when it comes to yearling selection is only outpaced by his ability with a crystal ball, as Redzel won the 10,000 and, as of Saturday, has reached Camp 4 and now preparing for a final assault on Everest.
Racing in the Group Two Bowermans Furniture Shorts over 1100m at Royal Randwick, Redzel turned in a blistering performance, stopping the clock at 1:01.83 and eclipsing the benchmark established by Famous Seamus in 2012.
After finalising a slot for the Everest last Tuesday – courtesy of James Harron Bloodstock’s nomination – the Shorts win has seen Redzel move into the second line of betting for the $10 million race on 14 October.
It was some win in the Shorts: particularly when you consider the beaten brigade included other Everest contenders in Chautauqua, English and Fell Swoop … all three, admittedly, first up from a spell.
Redzel, on the other hoof, had won the Group Three Concorde when resuming on 2 September.
Still, it’s hard to beat horses that run track records under any circumstances.
With Saturday’s win, Redzel has currently won nine of 19 starts, with a further five placings and $1,395,250 in prizemoney.
Triple Crown has tasted Group One success previously with Hot Snitzel, Peggy Jean and Lotteria, along with black type victories for nifty neddies like Flying Snitzel, Dothraki, Charlie Boy and Gold Symphony, but Ward admits Redzel has hit their peak.
“Yes, it would be the best $120,000 we’ve ever spent,” Ward enthused, referring to the cost to bring the Snitzel colt out Group winning 2YO, Millrich, home from the 2014 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
“We thought it was good money at the time and obviously haven’t changed our minds since.
“Triple Crown buys and syndicates around 15 to 20 yearlings annually and we’ve always been strict in terms of conformation and presence, but Redzel was a real stand out. A couple of things actually … incredibly well balanced, combined with the way he moved. Just such a genuine athlete.
“Sure, you have high hopes for all the yearlings you buy, but Redzel won by three lengths on debut as a 2YO at Warwick Farm, beating (subsequent Group One winner) Japonisme, then ran a very good third in the Group Three Kindergarten Stakes.
“He then wowed us with a huge trial just before returning to racing as a 3YO but went off the boil a bit. He was gelded and settled down a lot, but (trainers) Peter and Paul Snowden have done a marvellous job with the horse and got him to relax much more in his races.
“Redzel really started coming together as an autumn 3YO, winning the Fireball at Randwick, then the Group Three Heath and Listed Mumm Stakes last spring, before resuming in March with a lip second to English in the Group Two Challenge.
“He was again just beaten in the Group One Galaxy behind Russian Revolution, but if you had to ask me what the real turning point was, it was the Hall Mark.
“Super performance that day where he really started living up to his potential.
“The horse has now won four in a row and fingers crossed he makes it five in the Everest.”
Ward reveals that the trainers Snowden don’t intend on starting the horse again before the Everest, but claims that won’t be an issue.
“Redzel only had the two weeks between the Concorde and The Shorts, but actually relishes the month between runs,” Ward adds. “If we hadn’t got the Everest slot last week, we would have skipped the Shorts and instead sent Redzel to Melbourne for a start in the (Group One) Moir Stakes on Friday week.
“However, we were fortunate to secure a spot in the Everest and now it’s onwards and upwards for 14 October.”
First prize for the Everest is $5.8 million which, for an ownership group including a doctor, taxi driver, builder and former trotting trainer, would be an absolute life changer. And for two brothers who make diligence a byword, a crowning achievement.