Mar 08, 2018

Sydney’s super sprinter Redzel needs a top two finish to smash the $8 million prizemoney barrier in the Group 2 $500,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Redzel returns to the track where he won the inaugural The Everest so brilliantly last spring with TAB Fixed Odds price assessors rating the gelding hot favourite at $1.50 favourite.

Trainer Peter Snowden said Redzel has improved since his narrow loss to Redkirk Warrior in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington last month and felt the only negative is his sprinter is staying at 1000m.

“I would have preferred the race to be a touch further, ideally it would be great if this was 1100m,’’ Snowden said.

“The other option for the horse was the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington (Saturday) but looking at the spread of weights, there are 15 in the race and 13 are between 52.5kg and 50kg so we elected not to go there. But Redzel is very good and the ‘sting’ out of the Randwick track is no issue, he handles all surfaces.’’

Redzel has amassed $7,932,750 prizemoney in his 22-start career to be seventh on the all-time list behind Winx on $15,971,925.

A Challenge Stakes win would net connections another $287,000 while a second placing earns $94,000 which also ensures Redzel vaults over the $8 million mark.

Snowden said the Challenge Stakes is Redzel’s final start before the sprinter’s main mission this autumn, the Group 1 $2.5 million T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Day One of The Championships, April 7.

“Redzel will run Saturday then maybe have a trial before going into the T.J. Smith,’’ Snowden said. “He is not a hard horse to get ready.’’

Snowden ruled out any likelihood of Redzel going to Royal Ascot in June as they want to concentrate on defending his “title” in the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick in October.

Redzel has only eight opponents on Saturday but they include brilliant mare English, the $5 second favourite.

English has won the last two Challenge Stakes and is attempting to join Razor Sharp (1982-83-84) and At Sea (1985-86-87) as the only three-peat winners of the feature sprint.

The Challenge Stakes is among nine stakes races on an outstanding program that includes two Group 1 races.

Words: The Dailey Telegraph (Ray Thomas) Image courtesy: Bradley Photographers

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