Redzel has won The Everest, Australia’s richest horse race, for a second consecutive year at Randwick.
The Kerrin McEvoy-ridden Redzel led the 1200-metre feature from the early stages to post a clear victory over Trapeze Artist and Osborne Bulls following a week of controversy surrounding the projection of the race’s barrier draw on Sydney’s Opera House.
Redzel, trained by Peter and Paul Snowden, earned its connections $5.8 million as part of the total prize pool of $13 million that was on offer, with the race the richest in the world on turf.
“I was a bit more relaxed today,” McEvoy told Channel Seven.
“Last year was a bit of a whirlwind and I think having done it last year put me in good stead for this year.
“I went in with a nice amount of confidence that the horse was going to do well, given the rain, but he had to bounce off the canvas from a defeat last time.
“Fair play to the Snowdens. They got him back where they needed on a big day.”
Peter Snowden was shocked by Redzel’s triumph, while praising McEvoy’s astute riding.
“I can’t believe it. To win it once I thought we were lucky, but to win it again it is unbelievable,” he said.
“I knew we had a bit of work to do with the horse from his last start but I was confident he could make the improvement.
“Kerrin can a masterful ride. He judged the pace perfectly and gave himself every chance to finish off hard and that last part was a thrill, it was special.”
Osborne Bulls finished third, one-and-a-half lengths behind Redzel.
Racegoers not deterred by protest
In the lead-up to the race, Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys copped criticism for his plans to promote the race with a light show on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.
Broadcaster Alan Jones also fuelled the fire with a tirade against Opera House chief executive Louise Herron.
Racegoers, such as Peter Judge, who had travelled from Port Macquarie, were among the massive crowd of 40,578 at Randwick who believed the decision was a publicity masterstroke.
“When we were in the cab he asked why we were going out here and what was on. We told him and he said ‘Is that the thing that was on the Opera House?'” he said.
“If it wasn’t for that a lot of people wouldn’t have even known about it.
“It’s our building, we should be able to do what we want with it. It’s only a building, it’s not a living thing so let’s use it for whatever we can use it for.
“Not only does it promote this race but it also promotes Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and the Opera Horse — it puts it out there.”
Race numbers were up nearly more than 7,000 this year, despite inclement weather in Sydney on Saturday.