WAGGA trainer Trevor Sutherland will put his team to the test on the richest day of Australian racing at Randwick on Saturday.
The inaugural $10 million The Everest (1200m) will be staged on Saturday and the Sutherland stable plans to be right in the thick of the action on the big stage.
Sutherland has nominated Willy White Socks for the $500,000 Craven Plate (2000m) and plans to run.
Gentleman Max has been aimed at the $200,000 TAB Anniversary Highway – Benchmark 80 Handicap (1400m), while Hangin’ With Willy will contest the $100,000 Benchmark 95 Handicap (1600m).
All three horses have been in good consistent form around the Southern District and Sutherland said there was no better time to take the trio to Sydney.
“It will be a day out," Sutherland said.
“They’re all about stuffed around here so you have either got to get rid of them or see if they can take the next step.
“They’re at the top of the hill now so it’s hard for them. I’ve pulled every branch of the olive tree with them and there’s not much more I can do.
“I’ve protected their rating as much as I could for as long as I could, and they have all won good prizemoney now.”
Willy White Socks has won $122,000 in prizemoney but will be up against it in the group three Craven Plate. He will take on the likes of last-start group one winner Happy Clapper, along with the likes of Sense of Occasion and He’s Our Rokkii.
“Socks is screaming out for the 2000 metres,” Sutherland said.
“It’s a bit of a step up, and set weights, but it’s a nice race for him and it will be a great day out for the owners.”
Sutherland said one group of owners are taking a bus from Wagga to Sydney for the occasion, while the connections of Gentleman Max will come together from right across Australia.
“We’ve had this race picked out for Max for months,” Sutherland said.
“And if there is a shower of rain or two, I’ll be half confident. He goes super on a wet track and he’s only racing against the same horses.”
Hangin’ With Willy will back up in the Benchmark 95 (1600m) after running third at Leeton on Monday over 1200 metres.
“That was a nice little barrier trial for him, instead of having a track gallop,” Sutherland said.
“Three months ago he wouldn’t have been competitive in a race like this but that run will have topped him off nicely for the mile.”
Sutherland will wait until acceptances before booking jockeys for the trio.
He said it will be the first of a few trips to Sydney over the next six weeks.