Josh Parr will ride the locally-owned Overpass in Saturday’ $20 million TAB Everest. Image – Racing Photos.

Cootamundra thoroughbred owners Craig McTavish and Gerard Piffero will dream of a win in Australia’s richest race on Saturday when they start Overpass in the $20 million TAB Everest at Royal Randwick.

The 1200m slot holder race, which has attracted the best sprinters in Australia, will lead to almost 50,000 people walking through the gates at Randwick to watch history unfold.

“We’re very excited, and we’ll be there,” McTavish said.

“There are seven of us going from Coota and just a good group of mates, and it is now a bit of a regular trip for us. “Whether he (Overpass) got a spot or not, it didn’t matter; we were going anyway, but having him in makes it a lot more exciting.”

Overpass, trained by Bjorn Baker, will have Josh Parr in the saddle, and the Vancouver gelding has every chance of winning.

Last year, he finished sixth in the same race, beaten just shy of three lengths by Giga Kick, but the five-year-old has since matured into a terrific sprinter. He won in the inaugural $4 million The Quokka (1200m) in April before a determined second placing to Giga Kick in the $1.5 million Doomben 10,000 (1200m) in May.

Following a 14-week spell, he returned on September 16 with a second to Private Eye in the $1 million The Shorts. Leading into the TAB Everest, he was selected in an innovative deal involving the Australian Turf Club using their slot when partnering with Western Australian-based RAM Racing. RAM Racing reunites with Overpass and his connections as they attempt to emulate their success in The Quokka.

“He’s turning into a really nice horse, and I think gelding him might have given him a boost,” McTavish said.

 

“I don’t know the physiology behind it, but he seems to be a bit more professional now and ready to go.”

Overpass was a $15 chance prior to Tuesday night’s barrier draw for the TAB Everest, which was conducted on Sydney Harbour, and after drawing perfectly with gate two, he was crunched into $9 fourth-favourite.

“We’d like one, but if we go to pick, barrier one, two or three would be perfect,” McTavish said.

“I don’t think it matters; he’s very fast out, and he will lead, and it is just a matter of how much petrol he burns to get to the lead.”

While connections are dreaming big, McTavish doesn’t want to ‘put the mocker’ on his gelding. “I don’t even want to dream about it,” McTavish laughed.

“If he can finish top six again, that would be great, and anything else is a bonus.”

It appears connections will be in for a big day, and Overpass will look the winner at some stage, considering he is the only noted front-runner in the field.

Baker wants Parr to make use of the sprinter’s best asset – his sheer speed.

“We will utilise that cruising speed, we will be up there and rolling along,” Baker said. “We’re happy to roll along; that’s how I see our best chance. In some ways, I think it’s better if a horse does go with him, and we get a bit of speed into the race.

“He’s got a high cruising speed; that’s how we’ve won our races and how he’s run his best races, he’s been out there doing the work, so we’re comfortable in that position.”

Baker is also adamant Overpass is a better sprinter this spring than the one that contested The Everest last year, finishing a competitive sixth behind Giga Kick. “I’m very happy with Overpass, his work has been super, and he’s going better than ever,” Baker said.

“The four weeks between runs suits this horse; he showed that when he won in Perth and then ran such a good race a month later in the Doomben 10,000. He’s ready to run a really good race in The Everest.”

The TAB Everest is set to be run and won at 4.15 pm on Saturday, and there will be plenty of local televisions, phones, and radios dialled in for the race as

Overpass carries the hopes of a town.