Once again Everest Diaries speaks to the Adam Rytenskild, the managing Director - Wagering and Media at Tabcorp about their Everest slot. Adam has been with Tabcorp for exactly two decades and has been involved with the Everest from the early days.TAB is the first Everest Cup slot-holder that has confirmed their runner, to create engagement opportunities between their customers and their runner. Nature Strip is currently rated as the fastest sprinter in the world in his category.
Q: What would you say has been your favorite The Everest race and why? And similarly, who has been your favorite Everest contender, and why?
A: How can I go past last year when our TAB runner, Santa Ana Lane, stormed home for a second? He didn’t have the best of luck and ran a mighty race to beat all except the winner, Yes YesYes. I’ve enjoyed all three Everest’s so far, including those back-to-back wins of Redzel in the first two runnings.
Q: How did this year’s partnership with Nature Strip come about?
A: Having identified Nature Strip as an ideal fit, we approached the horse’s managing owner, Rod Lyons, informally back in early March and talks grew from there. We agreed to terms and announced the partnership on April 29. Rod and all the owners in Nature Strip have been a delight to work with.
Q: Based on your/ Tabcorp’s experience over the past few years, how did you choose your horse? What were the criteria which Nature Strip fulfilled?
A: We like to secure a horse for our slot early so we can create opportunities for our customers to be engaged in the journey and be part of the whole race-day experience. Our team views Nature Strip as arguably the best sprinter in the world. He brilliantly won the big TJ Smith during The Championships at Randwick in April and we feel he is still on the way up. Having champion trainer Chris Waller, who guided Winx through her phenomenal career, is another big plus. Our team thinks James McDonald has developed a real affiliation with the horse, and that now shows how the horse is settling in his races.
Q: This year COVID created some unusual circumstances which may have paved the way for a bigger digital future for the racing industry. Firstly, what from your perspectives do you see changing over the next ten years and secondly, how will the TAB is planning to embrace this digital revolution?
A: In racing, and in wagering and media, we are used to changing. From a TAB and Sky perspective, we are successfully using digital to engage our customers and that will continue. Some examples of this are our popular Sky Racing Active app, which is bringing bespoke racing coverage to audiences when and how they want it; TAB Venue Mode, which is about bringing exclusive offers and experiences to digital punters in TABs, pub TABs and racecourses; and the experience improvements and innovations that we are consistently adding to the TAB app and website and in the retail betting environment.
Q: The Everest has captured the Australian people’s imagination and its popularity seems to grow year-on-year. When you first heard of The Everest, did you feel that it would become so beloved?
A: It’s a race that oozes excitement, not just on the day itself but with all the build-up around which horses will get a slot. People talk about the TAB Everest throughout the year, speculating on which horses will be snapped-up by slot holders. The race is cleverly marketed to a new generation of racing fans, the younger audience, which speaks a lot to the race’s success to date.
Q: What is your favorite racing memory?
A: WatchingWinx finish her amazing racing career with a win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick would be difficult to top.