Hugh Bowman is an excited man ahead of the A$15 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The leading hoop will partner Lost And Running in the rich feature and he believes the New Zealand-bred has a strong chance of upsetting hot favourite Nature Strip.
“It is an exciting race to be a part of and it is great to be going in this year for the first time in my experience with what I think is a legitimate winning chance,” Bowman told RacingHQ.
The son of Per Incanto heads into the race in career best form after placing in the Gr.2 The Shorts (1100m) first-up before winning the Gr.2 Premiere Stakes (1200m).
Bowman rode Lost And Running to fourth in last year’s edition of The Everest and he believes the John O’Shea-trained gelding is streaks ahead of his old self.
“I did this (commit to ride Lost And Running) last year as well and the preparation didn’t quite go to plan like it has this year, but he is still a young horse and the best is still ahead for Lost And Running,” Bowman said.
“He has had an impeccable preparation leading up to the Everest and it is really looking like he could run a peak performance on Saturday, which he is probably required to do to beat Nature Strip.
“That is taking nothing away from the other opposition, it is a race full of depth. There are a few up and comers, there are a few horses that aren’t good enough, realistically, but they are still going to be there taking their place and running the race of their lives. It is going to be high pressure.”
Knowing the horse well, Bowman said he will try and keep his charge relaxed until the time comes to unleash his brilliance in the run.
“He doesn’t need any motivation,” Bowman said. “It is like having the trigger of a gun, he is ready to go as soon as you pull that trigger. That is where the art comes in early in the race to make sure he doesn’t light up because if he does, he is out of business.
“I have just got to keep him relaxed. John has got him trained up to run the race of his life over 1200m. I think if the race was run over 1400m John would train him differently and he wouldn’t be full of so much natural energy.”
Lost And Running has drawn gate seven and Bowman said there should be no excuses from that marble.
“I am happy with the draw, but I think everyone has drawn a good spot,” he said.
“I don’t think there is any horse that has been disadvantaged by the barrier draw. I am happy, but I am sure everyone is else too.”
From 16 career starts, Lost And Running has now recorded nine wins and three placings, earning just under A$3 million in stakes.
Lost And Running was bred by JML Bloodstock’s Lib Petagna and raised at Blandford Lodge in Matamata. Petagna retains an interest in the six-year-old gelding, who races in the colours of Carl Holt, with partners including Frank and Christine Cook and O’Shea’s wife Isabel.
One of 24 individual stakes winners by high-flying Little Avondale Stud stallion Per Incanto, Lost And Running is the only foal to race out of the Danroad mare Dreamlife, a sibling to stakes winners Kiss Me Ketut, Fast Love and A Chance To Dream.