2023 The Everest: runner-by-runner preview

10 OCTOBER 2023



The Everest has quickly established itself as one of the biggest events on the Australian racing calendar. After decades of “the big four” consisting of the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper, The Everest has joined them, and potentially passed the latter three depending on who you ask.

The field is set, and the barrier draw has been done. Let’s get stuck into our preview.


Trainer: Peter Moody & Katherine Coleman

Jockey: Luke Nolen

Group 1 highlights: 1st TJ Smith Stakes, Golden Eagle, 2nd Lightning Stakes, 3rd Newmarket Handicap, Memsie Stakes

I Wish I Win has emerged over the last 12 months as one of the most exciting horses, and some would say the best, in Australia. This time last year he was starting even money in the Toorak Handicap before taking out the Golden Eagle after a brilliant Luke Nolen ride.

It was in the autumn when he came into his own, and put himself on the map for the Everest. His three run autumn campaign including two exceptional placings down the Flemington straight, in the Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap, before producing one of the most stunning last-to-first TJ Smith wins we’ve ever seen.

The TJ Smith win showed that I Wish I Win loves a high pressure Randwick 1200m, but the important distinction between that race and the Everest was that the TJ was on a heavy track, and rounding up an entire field on a good track is a different story, especially so he has drawn the rail and may need luck in running. Still, he has produced excellent runs on firm decks too. One thing is for sure, no horse will be finishing harder.


Trainer: Joseph Pride

Jockey: Nash Rawiller

Group 1 highlights: 1st Epsom Handicap, Winners Stakes, 2nd Everest, Stradbroke Handicap, 3rd Canterbury Stakes

Private Eye has long been one of the most versatile and high class gallopers in the country. He’s won feature races in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane at distances from 1200m-1600m, and has performed well on good and soft tracks, but certainly has a preference for the former.

He ran second in the Everest last year, after looking the winner before Giga Kick got the drop on him late in the piece. But he beat all others home, including Mazu and Overpass who he meets again here. Earlier this year, Private Eye ran fourth in the Newmarket, which In Secret won with I Wish I Win in third, and he meets them both 4.5kg’s and 1.5kg’s better at the weights respectively. He was a powerful winner of The Shorts first-up, beating fellow Everest runners Overpass, Buenos Noches, In Secret, Hawaii Five Oh and Mazu after sitting three deep. Barrier nine could prove to be a sticky draw for him though, and it’s easy to see a scenario where he is posted wide again. If he can get in, he could well be the one to beat.


Trainer: Joseph Pride

Jockey: Sam Clipperton

Group 1 highlights: 1st Stradbroke Handicap, Kingsford-Smith Cup

Think About It is arguably the most remarkable story in this year’s Everest. This time last year he was a four-year-old that had only had three career starts, winning a maiden at Kembla Grange and a Class 1 at Wyong. Now, he finds himself vying for favouritism in the world’s richest race on turf.

Even as recently as May, Think About It was winning a humble listed race at Gosford, which was his fifth win in a row, and it was time for a sterner test. Up to Queensland he went, to snare a Group 1 double and prove beyond doubt that he had sneakily become one of our best horses.

Like I Wish I Win and Private Eye, Think About It hits The Everest second-up. His first-up performance was yet another win, in the Premiere Stakes over the Randwick 1200m, holding off the fast-finishing Hawaii Five Oh. He has drawn perfectly to sit in the second or third pair, and Sam Clipperton should be able to give him every chance from there.


Trainer: Peter & Paul Snowden

Jockey: Tommy Berry

Group 1 highlights: 1st Doomben 10,000, 2nd Winners Stakes, 3rd Everest, TJ Smith, Doomben 10,000

Mazu’s best form was as an autumn three-year-old in 2022, when he peeled off five wins in a row including the Doomben 10,000, all of them on wet tracks. He hasn’t won a race in nine starts since, but has run multiple placings to the likes of Giga Kick, Private Eye and I Wish I Win.

He very rarely runs a bad race, but the fact remains that he finds it too difficult to beat a field of high class sprinters despite being as honest as the day is long. His first-up performance was only fair, albeit he copped some bad luck along the way.

Drawing badly in gate 11 here might actually be in his favour. In a race with no obvious speed outside of Overpass and the natural leader, connections should decide to push forward and sit second or third, hope for a soft pace, and he can still be there deep into the straight.


Trainer: Bjorn Baker

Jockey: Joshua Parr

Group 1 highlights: 1st The Quokka, 2nd Doomben 10,000

This year, despite only having three starts, Overpass has quietly become one of the best sprinters in Australia, giving weight to the idea that many horses keep getting better as they turn from four to five. He won The Quokka back in April, beating a rising superstar in Amelia’s Jewel, and in his other two starts he’s been narrowly beaten by Giga Kick and Private Eye. Those two horses ran the quinella in the Everest last year, highlighting his quality.

He ran sixth himself in The Everest last season, beaten under three lengths, but that was clearly a year too early for him, and you could easily argue he is a 2-3 length superior horse this year. What Overpass has in his favour is that he is the only natural leader in the race, and drawing barrier two has only enhanced his claims. He’ll be able to push his way to the front uncontested, and set his own pace in front in conditions that may suit those up on the speed and on the rail. How Josh Parr rates the horse in front will go a long way to deciding who can and can not win the race.


Trainer: Matthew Smith

Jockey: Dylan Gibbons

Group 1 highlights: 3rd Coolmore Stud Stakes

Buenos Noches is one of the most untapped and exciting talents in the Everest field. A four-year-old that has only had nine starts, he put himself on the map last spring with a narrow second to Giga Kick in the Danehill Stakes, before running third to In Secret in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.

He had a couple of cracks at Group 1 level against the older horses down the Flemington straight earlier this year, running competitively in the Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap, but it’s clear that he has gone to another level after maturing through the winter months. He returned with a sensational win under a big weight in the Show County, and was arguably the run of the race when third behind Private Eye and Overpass in The Shorts second-up. The step up to 1200m will suit Buenos Noches as much as any horse, and he gives every impression of still improving every time we see him. From barrier 8 they’ll do doubt look to settle just worse than midfield, be saved for one run, and come steaming over the top of them.

HAWAII FIVE OH – slot confirmed

Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Jockey: James McDonald

Group 1 highlights: 3rd Stradbroke Handicap

Hawaii Five Oh wouldn’t have been the first Everest horse most people were thinking of when he won the Hawkesbury Guineas back in April, but he has continued to get better as yet another exciting four-year-old.

He ran third in the Stradbroke behind Think About It up in Queensland, and since returning this spring was beaten less than two lengths in The Shorts, and came rattling home out wide in the Premiere Stakes to just fall short against Think About It again. He was ridden more quietly in the Premiere last start, which produced his best performance, and from barrier 10 on Saturday he may be forced to again.

Hawaii Five Oh will be long enough in the market given he is one of few in the race that hasn’t won a Group 1 or big race feature, but as a horse that is expected to be a 1400m horse in his career, a strongly run 1200m will be in his favour.


Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Jockey: Craig Williams

Group 1 highlights: 1st Sussex Stakes, July Cup, Coronation Stakes, Cheveley Park Stakes

Alcohol Free was the last horse in the Everest field, helped by the mare being owned by Yulong Investments, who also had yet to fill their slot.

She is a four time Group 1 winning mare in the UK, including twice at 1200m despite being renowned more as a 1600m horse. One of those 1200m wins was as a two-year-old, but the other was in July last year beating one of our own in Artorius. Let’s not forget that he beat Imperatriz at Group 1 level last season, who many would have as favourite were she in this field Alcohol Free was three lengths in arrears of Think About It and Hawaii Five Oh first-up in the Premiere, and it’s hard to see her turning things around on those two, let alone beaten nine more of the best sprinters in Australia.



Trainer: James Cummings

Jockey: Zac Purton

Group 1 highlights: 1st Newmarket Handicap, Coolmore Stud Stakes, 2nd Golden Rose, 3rd Surround Stakes

In Secret was a marquee three-year-old filly of her generation last season, winning four races including two at Group 1 level with the Newmarket Handicap and Coolmore Stud Stakes, along with running second in the hottest three-year-old race each year, the Golden Rose.

However, the question remains as to whether she has made the necessary improvement between three and four to be a genuine Everest threat. She resumed with a second in the Concorde first-up, splitting Remarque and Bella Nipotina, neither of which is in the Everest. Second-up saw her run fourth in The Shorts with Private Eye, Overpass and Buenos Noches all having her measure.

Those first two runs were over 1000m and 1100m, and each time it has looked like she is crying out for 1200m, and a month between runs looks in her favour. The barrier draw wasn’t kind, leaving her jumping from 12 of 12, meaning there are just too many queries to be confident she can win.


Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Hugh Bowman

Group 1 highlights: 1st Coolmore Classic, 3rd Surround Stakes

Espiona is arguably the most interesting runner in the field, at least outside the three-year-old’s. There have been few more enigmatic gallopers across the last two seasons, carrying an enormous boom after winning by nearly seven lengths at Flemington on Derby Day two years ago.

She’s run some good races at 1200m in her time, including a second to Fangirl in the Light Fingers and winning the Sheraco Stakes first-up this campaign. But, she is certainly more renowned as a 1400m-1500m horse, where she has won four of her six career wins.

Espiona has also never raced against any of the older horses in this Everest field, unlike most of the others who have taken each other on at various stages over the last 12 months. Her talent is unquestioned, as is her finishing burst when unleashed under the right circumstances, and she could prove a spanner in the works for the more fancied runners.


Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy

Group 1 highlights: 1st Golden Slipper

Shinzo has had an unusual preparation, particularly so for a Chris Waller horse, and also when factoring in what a valuable colt he already is as a Golden Slipper winner. After winning the mad scamper for two-year-old’s, all and sundry were saying how much better he would be at three.

Running first-up in the Golden Rose was a strange decision. There are certain races that just shouldn’t be hit first-up because the pressure is too high, and the Golden Rose is one. Shinzo went back to last from a wide barrier and never came into the race, pulling up lame. Now he hits The Everest second-up off that minor injury against Australia’s, and therefore the world’s, best sprinters. Being by Snitzel out of a dual Group 1 winning mare, his future is a stallion is assured so they can afford to have as many throws at the stumps as they like, but it’s hardly a recipe for success..


Trainer: James Cummings

Jockey: Zac Lloyd

Career highlights: 2nd Golden Slipper, 3rd Golden Rose

Cylinder brings a profile of ultra-competitiveness to the Everest. He’s run seven times in 2023, for four wins at Group 2/3 level, along with a second to Shinzo in the Golden Slipper and a third in the Golden Rose. It’s quite a similar profile to 2019 Everest winner Yes Yes Yes, and in fact he probably brings even more credentials to the race.

He was unlucky in the Golden Rose, and it’s easy to make a case he should have won it. This was following more bad luck in the Run To The Rose when he won but should have put a length or two more on his opposition. He is a high quality colt that might just have a sense of timing about him.

Barrier four will give Zac Lloyd options, and he may look to position himself on the flank of the leader Overpass, who will jump from two inside him, or even settle a pair further back if some unexpected pace comes into the race from somewhere.


There are probably five horses you can write off immediately – Mazu, Alcohol Free and Espiona probably aren’t good enough, In Secret hasn’t improved enough since three, and Shinzo hasn’t had the preparation to win.

Overpass will surely lead the race, almost certainly uncontested, which gives him a chance, even if he is probably a length below the best sprinters. Hawaii Five Oh could go forward or back, but might not be quite there either way. I Wish I Win could be the best horse in the race, but barrier one and a potentially moderate speed on a firm deck makes it tough for him. Buenos Noches will be finishing hard, and might make a down payment on next year’s Everest, while Cylinder brings lovely three-year-old form to the equation ans should get a dream run.

That leaves the Joe Pride pair, Think About It and Private Eye. The former has drawn to get the box seat run, and still has upside given he keeps on winning. But Private Eye is capable of a powerhouse finish unmatched by most in this field, and if he can get in from barrier nine, can come over the top of them.


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