Reigning champion Redzel was the big winner at The Everest barrier draw — which was projected on to the Sydney Opera House — when he drew the rails for the world's richest race on turf at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
There are now four equal favourites after Tuesday night's draw with Shoals and Redzel joining Trapeze Artist and Vega Magic at the top of the market.
Vega Magic drew barrier seven, Santa Ana Lane picked up gate nine, with Shoals to jump from two and Trapeze Artist from barrier six.
Aidan O'Brien's runner, US Navy Flag, will exit from barrier three and was a big shortener after Tuesday night's gala event.
Santa Ana Lane drifted after he drew wide in barrier nine.
Redzel trainer Peter Snowden was delighted with the draw.
"I think against these horses, the draw is crucial to a lot of chances," he said. "That and the track conditions are probably the two biggest factors because there's not much between them in ability. If you draw a soft gate you're there without doing much work but when you're out wide you have to do a bit of work to get across."
Redzel suffered a minor setback last month and missed a run, but he made up for that by running fifth behind fellow Everest contender Santa Ana Lane in the group two Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on September 29.
Snowden said he took plenty of benefit out of that performance.
"The horse is ready to go," he said. "He worked very well on Tuesday morning and we're very happy with him. He's tightened up nicely and his work was sharp. It's a different sort of preparation but what I saw from him in his work on Tuesday morning told me he was back where he was before the race last year."
But don't ask Snowden to pick a winner.
"You could select five and not even pick the winner, the field is that good," he said.
The actual Everest barrier draw was conducted earlier on Tuesday because of concerns of possible security issues at the Sydney Opera House. But there were no apparent dramas as the barriers were announced for each of the 12 runners to coincide with the light show on the sails of the Opera House.
Late Everest inclusion Osborne Bulls drew barrier five and jockey Tommy Berry hopes his race surprises are now over.
Home Of The Brave became Berry's third confirmed Everest ride to be judged unfit to run after Menari and English were also ruled out of the race after breaking down in the lead-up to the event.
Home Of The Brave, racing in the ATC slot, was ruled out of the race after trainer James Cummings told stewards the gelding had an elevated temperature and a blood tests had revealed abnormalities.
"Things have changed a lot over the past six months with what I thought I'd be riding and what I've ended up with," Berry said.
"I thought I'd finally got to the end of it with Home Of The Brave but obviously not so. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster but I'm still very lucky to have a ride in the race with Godolphin and the ATC."
Osborne Bulls has won eight of his 12 starts, including five over 1200m and is two from two on soft tracks. He comes off a fast-finishing fifth placing to Jungle Cat in the group one Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and was less than 1-lengths off the winner. He's already won two Listed races and was set to start favourite in Saturday's Everest consolation race, the group three Sydney Stakes.
"He ticks a lot of boxes but will have to go to a new level to win. He's got untapped ability at the moment though," Berry said. "When I found out I was riding him I went straight to see his wet track form. I wasn't worried about the quality of the horse. I just wanted to look at the fact he can handle the wet and has won at the track and distance."
Berry thinks Osborne Bulls provides X-factor. He expects to make his run from off the speed and hopes to swamp them late.
"He's missed those hard runs against the top sprinters in Australia.
"A lot of them would have been beating each other up in the lead up so that's a plus," he said.
- Daily Telegraph, Sydney