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Has The Everest win of Giga Kick heralded the changing of the sprinting guard?

Giga Kick, the first unbeaten winner of The Everest, might have signalled the changing of the guard in Australian sprinting at Royal Randwick last Saturday.

For most of the last three years, champion Nature Strip and his old rival Eduardo have been the nation’s superior sprinters but Giga Kick was able to trump them both with his outstanding win in the world’s richest turf race.

Remarkably, Giga Kick does not turn three by birth date until Wednesday. As a gelding, his future is on the racetrack so this young sprinter could be a starter in multiple The Everests in the next few years.

James Harron, the Everest slot-holder who selected Giga Kick, even hinted he might try to lock in a deal with the brilliant’s sprinters owners soon for the 2023 The Everest.

“It’s not a bad idea,’’ Harron said when asked if he was thinking of making a very early move on Giga Kick for The Everest next year. “We will get through the weekend but I’m sure it is on the cards.’’

Giga Kick was having only his fifth race start when he joined Yes Yes Yes (2019) as the only three-year-olds to win The Everest. The voice of Australian sport, Bruce McAvaney, believes Giga Kick’s win is “great for The Everest”.

“What Giga Kick has shown is that three-year-olds can win this race, even those as lightly raced as he is so we will probably see more of these younger sprinters taking on the older horses now,’’ McAvaney said.

Harron revealed Nature Strip’s towering reputation as the world’s number-one ranked sprinter meant it was hard to find the right horse to run in his Everest slot.

“It was hard to recruit horses into the race this year when you have a hot favourite like Nature Strip there,’’ Harron said.

“It forced everyone to go left of centre a bit, go outside the square, but it has always been a plan of ours to try and get a three-year-old in the race.

“Fortunately we have a good relationship with Giga Kick’s owners who had a lot of confidence in the horse. Another huge part of this whole puzzle was (jockey) Craig Williams who genuinely believed this horse was a top four chance.

“So that was good enough for us, we structured everything around the horse and the dream result came off.’’

Giga Kick’s trainer, Clayton Douglas is just 27 years of age, he had been training for two years and had only 26 career wins to his name.

But just like his horse, Douglas’ youthfulness and relative inexperience didn’t matter – he is now an Everest-winning trainer.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,’’ Douglas said.
“Giga Kick wasn’t in the race to make the numbers up and I had a lot of faith in him. He’s a star. Watch out, the new kid is on the block.”

The Australian Turf Club’s promotion slogan for The Everest this year read: “Where stories are made”.

Harron had the youngest trainer and youngest horse in his Everest slot and on race eve said: “If the best story wins, we have the best story”.

“Clayton is obviously an amazing horseman and I am so excited to watch his career unfold,’’ Harron said.

“A star was born at Randwick on Saturday – the world is at his feet.’’

Harron could also have been talking about Giga Kick because you get the feeling the trainer and his sprinter are going to be making more headlines for years to come.

Originally published as The Everest win of unbeaten Giga Kick may have heralded the change of the sprinting guard

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