‘Try-hard’ Sydneysiders blasted by Victoria over The Everest
THE war of words between Victoria and NSW over the timing of The Everest blew up on Tuesday with a top Victorian official saying "try-hard" Sydneysiders had a "profound inferiority complex".
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas fired up at comparisons between brash newcomer The Everest, the world's richest race on turf, and the 150-year-old Melbourne Cup.
"I suppose you could compare a sprint down a straight line against a race that stops a nation if you were, I dunno, parochial and Sydney based," he said.
"But I can't see there are too many reasons why anybody would see that there is merit in trying to compete with something that is very much part and parcel of the tradition of this nation."
And then he fired: "Ultimately the try-hards in Sydney can do what they want, they can throw as much money at it as they want, it really just does show that they are suffering from a profound inferiority complex."
The Victorians have fired up after Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys had the temerity to suggest they move the date of the Melbourne Cup.
NSW Racing chairman Russell Balding this week called out the Victorians for blocking The Everest from receiving Group 1 status because they wanted it to be staged on a different date.
The Everest this Saturday is on the same day as the Caulfield Cup in Victoria and its bumper crowd is expected to at least be double the numbers attending the meeting south of the border.
That clearly hurts those sensitive southern egos.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was asked what he thought about people who said The Everest was better than the Melbourne Cup.
He said with a sneer: "I don't think much about those people.
"I don't think that's really a very logical argument at all. I don't think the Everest stops the nation, does it?
"There are many people around the country who are very jealous of Victoria's major events calendar.
"The Melbourne Cup is the biggest horse race in our nation. It stops the nation. It will have record crowds there this year and be a fantastic event as it is every year."
Earlier, NSW Racing Minister Kevin Anderson defended the choice of date for The Everest.
"People enjoy coming to Sydney for their events, so it's only natural that the richest turf race in the world is held here and on a date that works for Sydney," he said.
"With the winner taking home $14 million, the Everest is the first-class thoroughbred race NSW was crying out for and it has delivered."
He backed calls for it to be given racing's top ranking.
"Group 1 status recognises the highest thoroughbred stakes in the country. Right now The Everest meets that description, so all eyes are on us to see what happens next," he said.
The row comes as The Daily Telegraph revealed Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne has chosen Royal Randwick over Caulfield on Saturday to ride the black stallion she trains in Victoria.
Victorian racing's golden girl said riding Kaspersky in the Sydney Stakes in front of a packed crowd on the same day as The Everest would be a career highlight.
"The atmosphere is unbelievable at Randwick and something we in Victoria could really take a leaf out of," said Payne, who won the Melbourne Cup in 2015 on Prince Of Penzance.
Her history-making win has just been made into movie called Ride Like A Girl, while Payne has moved into training horses and restricts her rides to those and horses trained by her father and brother.
The Sydney Stakes has a $500,000 purse and will be Kaspersky's comeback race after a two-year lay-off.
"It will be an amazing day," Payne said. "If we get in it will be one of the best days of my riding career. It would mean a lot because I have put so much effort into this."
Payne, who last rode the nine-year-old stallion at Royal Ascot in the UK said: "He loves a big crowd and will love it at Randwick."
Payne said the course at Randwick would be better for Kaspersky's comeback race with the track at Caulfield too firm.
"The track at Randwick is always superbly maintained," she said. "It is the best day to be there with that incredibly crowd and it is unbelievable to have $500,000 in prize money for a Group 3 race."