Former Scone-trained galloper eyes off $10m The Everest

MAKING A MARK: Former Scone-trained galloper Clearly Innocent will contest the $10 million The Everest at Randwick on Saturday.
MAKING A MARK: Former Scone-trained galloper Clearly Innocent will contest the $10 million The Everest at Randwick on Saturday.

KRIS Lees believes Clearly Innocent would appreciate a slightly longer race, but the Newcastle trainer has no concerns about the draw or preparations of the ex-Scone runner for the $10 million The Everest (1200m).

Clearly Innocent, one of the last confirmed to fill a slot in the world richest race on turf, was drawn in six of 12 for Saturday’s inaugural edition at Randwick on Tuesday.

Lees was not at the draw on Sydney Harbour, and slot-owner Damion Flower, of Jadesyke Racing, did the honours for Clearly Innocent, which will be ridden by Hugh Bowman on the weekend.

“I don’t get too flustered either way with barrier draws because a lot can happen once the gates open,” Lees said.

“But if you said ‘pick a barrier’, I would have said ‘somewhere in the middle’.

“The ones drawn inside, they’ll push forward and you’ll get a nice trail. It looks all right for him.

“He’s going to get the race run to suit and, to be fair to him, he probably wants a touch further.

“In a perfect world, for this horse, I’d like it 1300, 1400 metres, but it is what it is, and we’re pretty happy with where he’s at.”

Mal Ollerton gave Clearly Innocent, formerly trained by Greg Bennett in the Upper Hunter, his final piece of trackwork on Tuesday morning over the course proper at Newcastle.

Clearly Innocent was third in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) first-up on September 30 at Randwick and the fast finish was enough to convince Flower to confirm the six-year-old Cressfield Stud gelding as his pick.