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The Everest slot surrendered by Jadeskye Racing & leviathan owner Damion Flower has been put up for tender but will not necessarily be awarded to the bidder who offers the most money.

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Racing New South Wales on Thursday announced that the slot made available following the arrest of Damion Flower on drug smuggling charges would be put to market.

Flower forfeited his The Everest slot for this year’s $14 million race, run at Randwick on October 19, when he was arrested and charged for his alleged role in a drug importation ring.

The high-profile owner had paid the $600,000 for The Everest slot this year and had taken up the option for 2020.

Racing NSW will make no decision on the 2020 The Everest slot until it learns the outcome of court proceedings against Flower.

But it will go to the ‘person or organisation that brings benefit and adds to the promotion and appeal of the race which has captured everyone’s attention’.

Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys said, “The slot has attracted many interested parties who are willing to pay the amount necessary.

“The challenge for them is how they can show that they will bring something unique to The Everest. We have already done a Barrier Draw on the Opera House, so you can rule that out.”

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Whoever secures the rights to the vacated slot, which is just for 2019 with no accompanying option for future years, will receive the right to nominate a horse for The Everest on October 19 and a share in the prizemoney of that horse. The tender process closes at 4pm on Friday, July 12.

Seven of the 12 Everest slots have been taken, with two-time champion Redzel the most recent to be snapped up when taken by Yulong Investments. The slot for tender is just one of five remaining positions in the 12-horse field. The occupied places in the field are:

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The Everest 2019 – Slot holders – runners

1.Aquis – Pierata
2.Boniface Ho and Carmel Size Racing – Classique Legend
3.TAB – Santa Ana Lane
4.Max Whitby and Neil Werrett – Sunlight
5.Inglis – In Her Time
6.The Star – Arcadia Queen
7.Yulong Investments – Redzel
8.Australian Turf Club – TBA
9.Chris Waller Racing – TBA
10.Coolmore – TBA
11.James Harron – TBA
12. Vacant Slot (was Damion Flower, now to be auctioned as per story above) – TBA