Rain in Australia has dampened Aidan O’Brien’s enthusiasm ahead of US Navy Flag’s groundbreaking run in The TAB Everest on Saturday morning.
Billed as the world’s richest race on turf, the six-furlong test at Randwick sees 12 of the best sprinters on the planet line up.
Last year the inaugural running was won by Redzel, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, and he defends his title in what looks a wide-open race.
The Ballydoyle handler had planned to send Caravaggio to contest the showpiece event last year and while that did not come to fruition, US Navy Flag won the July Cup to seal his ticket.
O’Brien had campaigned the colt, who won the Middle Park and Dewhurst as a two-year-old, over a mile earlier in the season, finishing second in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
However, dropped back to sprinting he seemed much happier and beat a top-class field at Newmarket.
“He’s in good form and everything seems well with him,” said O’Brien.
“Obviously the worry we have is with the ground as they are getting plenty of rain down there, which is probably not ideal, but everyone seems to be happy with him other than that.”
Ryan Moore has jetted Down Under in preference to a solid book of rides at Newmarket on Friday and Saturday, including Anthony Van Dyck in the Dewhurst, but Coolmore’s Tom Magnier said the decision was made by the rider.
“Ryan Moore is retained by Coolmore as our No.1 jockey and he has the pick of the races he wants to attend,” Magnier told www.news.com.au
“There is the Dewhurst, one of the biggest races in the UK, but he is coming down for The Everest and is very excited about it.
“That says something when the top jockey in the world wants to be here.”
Magnier added: “It is one of the most talked-about races around.
“There is a buzz surrounding this race that I haven’t seen before.
“You have got your Melbourne Cup, your Arc de Triomphe, but this race is right up there. It’s got global recognition. In its second year it has become one of the biggest races in the world.”