Undefeated close relation to Alabama Express heads to The Everest

This article is an edited version that originally appeared in Thoroughbred Daily News Australia New Zealand, written by Jessica Owers.

On Tuesday, it was a case of 10 down, two to go in the $15 million The TAB Everest, with slotholder James Harron announcing his choice for October 15 as the undefeated 3-year-old Giga Kick (Scissor Kick).

Giga Kick is out of the stakes-placed mare Rekindled Applause, who was imported to Australia in 2006, and she’s had 10 foals to date. Giga Kick is her first stakes winner, but two of her other progeny are stakes-placed and her daughter, Lago Ovation (Encosta De Lago), is the dam of Alabama Express. Being by Redoute’s Choice, the sire of Scissor Kick, Alabama Express is very closely related to Giga Kick.

Redoute’s Choice is also the sire of the immediate family member Rekindled Interest, a Pinecliff winner of the G2 Dato Tan Chin Nam S. and G2 AAMI Vase, and who was also sharp enough to be second in the G1 George Ryder S. and third in Pinker Pinker’s (Reset) Cox Plate.

Rekindled Glow, a Redoute’s Choice half-sister to Giga Kick, was bought by Yulong’s Written Tycoon Syndicate for $80,000 at the 2021 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

A Rising Star

Giga Kick has become the latest addition to an interesting and diverse field for this year’s The Everest and, for the horse’s trainer, 27-year-old Clayton Douglas, it’s a wild ride that he hopes is just beginning.

Undefeated in four lifetime starts to date, last weekend his fame rose even further with a fetching win in the G2 Danehill S. at Flemington.

Giga Kick becomes the third-last horse to earn a berth in The Everest, leaving just Godolphin and Inglis to announce their respective choices for the big sprint. Inglis was forced back to the well on Monday with the news that its choice, Snapdancer (Choisir) was sidelined with injury.

Last week, Joyful Fortune (Nicconi), Shades Of Rose (Rubick), Overpass (Vancouver) and Jacquinot (Rubick) were all confirmed for respective slotholders Aquis, Bon Ho, James Kennedy and Coolmore.

The news of Giga Kick’s appointment was well-regarded on Tuesday, and the 3-year-old will be one of the most unexposed of The Everest’s 12 runners. However, this isn’t bothering Clayton Douglas, who says there’s precedence.

“The 3-year-olds have a good record in The Everest, obviously with Yes Yes Yes winning in 2019,” he said. “This fellow (Giga Kick) broke Nature Strip’s class record the other day, and he was only half-a-second outside the track record so he was very appealing to James Harron, and he and his partners have decided to go with him which has been very exciting for us.”

“This fellow (Giga Kick) broke Nature Strip’s class record the other day, and he was only half-a-second outside the track record so he was very appealing to James Harron…” – Clayton Douglas

Douglas spent much of Monday night absorbing the decision before it went public on Tuesday morning. It’s huge news for the trainer who, at just 27 years of age, has a small team in work.

“It’s unreal to think I’ve got a 3-year-old in an Everest field, and to be rubbing shoulders with all the big boys in Sydney, for a small stable like mine it’s unbelievable,” Douglas said. “I’ve got 25 in work at the moment, so compared to some of these trainers in the field, it’s quite a small stable.

“This horse is such an exciting sprinter and he needs to raise the bar, but I expect him to travel really well to Sydney and I’m expecting that he’ll acquit himself nicely.”

Dreaming Big

Giga Kick is raced by Jonathan Munz’s Pinecliff Racing operation after being raised at Bhima, and he kicked off his career with a debut win last February in a 2-year-old maiden over 1100 metres.

From the get-go, he was something interesting.

Giga Kick won his first race by 4.25l, winning his second in July by 1.25l to round out his juvenile season. He returned as a 3-year-old on August 13, winning the G2 Vain S. in a narrow finish to Alpha One (Super One) ahead of last Saturday’s Danehill victory.

“He’s been an incredibly versatile horse,” Douglas said. “He’s won on soft ground, he’s won on dry ground and he’s run time. We were able to ride him back in the Vain and he pounced, and he rode the speed the other day down the straight.”

The trainer said Giga Kick has been able to cope with most situations he’s faced to date, which will be a huge plus in an experienced field on October 15. The Everest is not a small task for a gelding who, on raceday, will be still two years old by his date of birth (October 19).

The Everest is not a small task for a gelding (Giga Kick) who, on raceday, will be still two years old by his date of birth (October 19).

“He’s got the right temperament for both the travel and taking on the seasoned horses, at this point,” the trainer said. “Obviously, it’s a high-class race and we’re going to run into the best sprinter that we’ve probably seen in Nature Strip, but Giga Kick has done nothing wrong. He keeps raising the bar every time we ask.”

For Douglas, the last 24 hours has been a procession of media interviews and sudden interest. As any trainer will admit, it’s a good annoyance to have.

The Mornington yard is ticking along pretty well, with Douglas also prepping the OTI horse Harmysian (GB) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) for this Saturday’s G2 Herbert Power S. He’s keeping the dream alive that the 6-year-old gelding might earn a place in the Melbourne Cup.

Clayton Douglas is hoping Harmysian (GB) might earn a place in the Melbourne Cup | Image courtesy of Racing Photos

“For a young trainer, to be thinking about races like that, and to have a runner in The Everest, it’s just awesome,” he said.