Red’s remarkable Everest double

In the space of four weeks, Redzel has taken his connections from despair to euphoria with his second win in The TAB Everest.

A month ago, Peter Snowden and the connections of Redzel (Snitzel) were wondering if their hopes of winning Australia’s richest race again had been dashed by a freak accident.

Snowden, who trains with his son Paul, has seen most things in his long career in racing. But when Redzel emerged from his box on the morning of The Shorts sore and sorry after getting cast in his box, another summit of the famous race seemed a long way away.

“What happened in the last month has just been incredible. I wanted to run the horse that day and for some unknown reason he got cast in his box,” Snowden said after Redzel’s win on Saturday.

“In two and half years, he’s never done it before, he chose the night before a race to be cast and be sore. I thought I’m in trouble now, because it has mucked up the whole preparation I had in my mind for him.”

It was a similar sinking feeling for managing owner Michael Ward of Triple Crown Syndications.

“The heart did flutter a bit when I got that phone call on the Saturday morning of The Shorts,” Ward said. “But when you’ve got Grand Final trainers like Peter and Paul. They are magical.”

Even two weeks ago Snowden’s faith was again tested when Redzel returned in the G2 Premiere, where he finished fifth.

“I was disappointed on the day, but I could see in his performance it wasn’t a bad run. And the last two weeks have been perfect,” he said.

But as many of Redzel’s major rivals lamented the falling rain this week, Snowden knew things were finally falling in his favour.

“We wanted rain and there has just been rain coming all week. And everything has just fallen into place today, and I just can’t believe it,” he said.

Going to plan

As far as $13 million races go, it was as comfortable as it could get. Likely speed rival U S Navy Flag (USA) (War Front {USA}) missed the start, leaving Redzel to dictate.

“From the 1 gate, that was Plan A, to control it from the front,” jockey Kerrin McEvoy said. “That’s what this horse is able to do. He loved the ground and is such a little warrior. He is a joy to be a part of.”

McEvoy never really had any concerns. Redzel put a couple of lengths on his rivals at the top of the straight and while Trapeze Artist (Snitzel) tried valiantly to close the gap, he never seriously looked a threat.

Post-race Snowden was still trying to comprehend how straightforward the race has been.

“I just hope I don’t fall out of bed and wake up,” he said. “It’s been a dream.”

McEvoy, a two-time winner of the Melbourne Cup, was simply delighted to have written his name as the first dual winner of this race.

“This is euphoria at its best. It is such an electric feeling. I was really happy there was a bit of rain around and he did the rest. It is a huge buzz to win it again, unbelievable,” he said.

Passing Makybe Diva

Triple Crown bought Redzel for $120,000 at Magic Millions and he has now surpassed Maybe Diva as Australasia’s second biggest prizemoney winner, with $14.8 million.

“Different weather same result, it’s an absolute dream come true,” Chris Ward said. “To do this the first time was unbelievable, it was beyond our wildest dreams to do it again.”

Redzel and connections following his win in The TAB Everest

It was also a significant success for Yulong Investments and their owner Zhang Yueshang, the slot-holders who selected Redzel all the way back in May. Yulong have invested significantly in Australia over the past five years and on Saturday got one of their biggest rewards.

“(Mr Zhang) was always keen on the horse. He is a big follower of Australian racing and he’s been a big fan of Redzel. He was super keen to get him in his slot,” Chris Ward said.

The logical question now is whether Redzel will be set for a third straight shot at the race.

“Why not, he’s only young,” Michael Ward said, “I like this race, I’ve taken a real shine to it.”

Peter Snowden is similarly enthusiastic.

“We’ll have to, I’ve got no choice, he’s a gelding,” the trainer said.