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September 5, 2020

BY RAY THOMAS & BEN DORRIES – THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Queensland’s gun three-year-old Rothfire has become the fourth confirmed starter in the $15 million The TAB Everest later this spring.

Everest slot holders miRunners have locked in a deal with Rothfire’s trainer Rob Heathcote and his syndicate of owners to secure a start in the world’s richest turf race. Rothfire joins Nature Strip (slot holders TAB), Gytrash (Inglis) and Classique Legend (Bon Ho) as starters in The Everest, run at Royal Randwick on October 17.

MiRunners spokesman Steve Brown said Rothfire had been the preferred choice of his panel of experts, ratings guru Daniel O’Sullivan, former champion jockey Tye Angland, racing enthusiast Mark Waugh and form expert Lizzie Jelfs.

Brown said the plan was to see how Rothfire measured up against the likes of Farnan in the Run To The Rose next Saturday before making a final decision but interest from other Everest slot-holders forced them to make an early call.

“Rothfire has been the panel’s No.1 pick but they had always wanted to see this horse return first,’’ Brown said.

“But there was another offer from an Everest slot-holder so after much consideration we decided to negotiate with Rob Heathcote to have Rothfire in The Everest.”

Brown said there is “some flexibility” with the Everest deal if Rothfire doesn’t run up to expectations at Rosehill next week.

“If Rothfire is the horse Rob thinks he is, then we are going to be deep in The Everest but he has to do it now in the lead-up races,’’ he said.

“It’s interesting because the ‘fifth member’ of our panel are our slot-holders in miRunners, they have all had a vote and more than a third wanted Rothfire.’’

Until now, Queenslanders haven’t had much to cheer on a parochial basis in The Everest with the state’s sole representative Houtzen finishing seventh behind Redzel in 2017.

But the Sunshine State now has a live chance of taking out the rich race with Rothfire.

“The deal is done,” Heathcote said.

“I am excited to have this potential superstar representing Queensland in The Everest.”

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