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Bookies fear ‘Makybe Diva effect’ could deliver a bloodbath

Michael Sullivan believes the Makybe Diva effect could make a Redzel win in The Everest a nightmare result for on-course bookmakers at Randwick on Saturday.

The defending champion was a $6.50 favourite at BetEasy last night and Sullivan fears the consequences of an army of $20 punters targeting the horse they know.

Rearing to go: Defending Everest champion Redzel at Randwick on Tuesday

Rearing to go: Defending Everest champion Redzel at Randwick on TuesdayCredit:Dominic Lorrimer

“There are a lot of people who came to the races for the first time for The Everest last year and the only thing they all remember is Redzel won,” Sullivan said.

“It is the Makybe Diva effect: when she won her third Melbourne Cup, the smaller punters made her a loser because they wanted to be on her. It was the same with Black Caviar and is the same with Winx: everyone wants a ticket with their name on it.’’

After a drama-filled build-up extending from the controversial Opera House barrier draw to the scratching of Home Of The Brave on Tuesday, there were rumours that Irish raider US Navy Flag might be withdrawn from the $13million race because of the predicted heavy track. Coolmore raised concerns about the Aidan O’Brien-trained four-year-old on heavy ground and he has been soft in betting since the barrier draw.

“US Navy Flag is one horse that I can’t get excited about,’’ Sullivan said. ‘‘Personally, I think Redzel is probably going to start favourite because he ticks all the boxes – including handling the wet. He has been the one they have started to back at Bluebet late in the week.”

Redzel’s trainer Peter Snowden believes he has the timing right with the six-year-old, which was slightly disappointing after going too keen in the first half of the Premiere Stakes and failing to run fifth behind Santa Anna Lane.

‘‘He has tightened right up from that run and his coat has come good,” Snowden said. “He is ready to go and the best part of him is that he is going to handle whatever track we get.”

Punters have labelled the wet trackers in The Everest field, with Redzel and Shoals attracting most of the money at BetEasy, while reserve runner Jungle Edge was backed from $51 to $26 yesterday. Shoals has been $8 to $7 with the corporate bookmaker.

“She is clearly our worst way, with punters looking at her unbeaten record in the wet from three runs,” BetEasy’s Matt Tripp said. “There has also been good money for her stablemate Santa Ana Lane and of course Redzel.”

The Anthony Freedman-trained pair were the first two home in the Premiere Stakes, with Santa Ana Lane just holding a margin over Shoals as they smashed the Randwick 1200m record.

“They have both improved from that run and I really can’t split them,” Freedman said. “I think they are still a little underrated. We are comfortable with a wet track for both of them and I can’t wait for Saturday.”

The Australian Turf Club are expecting a record crowd despite a week of rain that had the track rated heavy nine yesterday. “We just keep getting a bit more rain than we have wanted,” Randwick track manager Nevesh Ramdhani said. “We are hoping to get back to heavy eight by the start of the program. It looks like it is clearing and we will get a windy day but no rain tomorrow.

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