Ex-Hong Kong galloper Sunshine Rising set for Aussie debut in Festival Stakes
One look at the formguide will tell you why ex-Hong Kong galloper Sunshine Rising is attracting plenty of attention ahead of his first run in 671 days in Saturday’s Group 3 Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
The stakes-winning son of Myboycharlie holds a third behind Win Bright and Magic Wand two starts ago in the Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup while he was fifth in Golden Sixty’s Group 1 Stewards’ Cup triumph at his last visit to the races.
But the dates of those performances tell the true story with the runs coming years apart in December, 2019 and January, 2021 respectively.
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The now nine-year-old has battled tendon issues in recent years and was retired from Hong Kong before trainer Mark Newnham was contacted to give Sunshine Rising a chance to finish his career in Australia.
Newnham has recently had success reinvigorating the career of form talented sprinter Joyful Fortune, which earned a slot in this year’s The Everest and won a Listed event at Flemington in November.
“Sunshine Rising had some tendon issues and had to be retired from Hong Kong after only having one run in three years,” Newnham said.
“We got him through Shane Dye who is good friends with the owners and started going through the process with him and he did a lot of the work over in New Zealand.
“If we didn’t think it was worthwhile getting him back in, we wouldn’t have done it and I think he’s still got something in the tank.
“It‘s unlikely we will see him get back to his Group 1 form and there is not a lot of races for him at this time of year but he has only had 22 starts.
“Potentially we will look at the Ingham with him if all goes right.”
Sunshine Rising isn’t currently listed in Group 2 The Ingham betting, previously the Villiers Stakes, but has been the subject of some support in the Festival Stakes.
TAB opened the gelding at $8 before shortening the import into $7.50 on Thursday.
Sunshine Rising has had two trials ahead of his debut with the latest coming on November 8 in a second placing behind Purple Sector over 1257m at Randwick.
Newnham said Sunshine Rising has been a “gentleman” around the stable and recognised the Group 2 winner would attract plenty of attention from punter this weekend.
“He‘s an interesting galloper and he’s certainly attracted some attention given his profile,” Newnham said.
“Obviously he‘s got a bit of talent running third behind the Japanese horse Win Bright and Magic Wand two starts ago.
“That’s A-grade but he’s battled tendon issues since then and only had the one run in the past three years.”
Newnham’s former stable apprentice Tom Sherry will pilot Sunshine Rising.
Originally published as Ex-Hong Kong galloper Sunshine Rising set for Australian debut in Festival Stakes