Sunshine Rising on track for JRA Plate

Veteran Sunshine Rising is making a fist of his second coming as a racehorse and while he isn’t going to climb the Group 1 heights of yesteryear, he continues to pack a punch.

The nine-year-old is regarded as one of the leading chances for the JRA Plate (2000m) at Randwick on Saturday after filling the minor placings at his past three starts in similar grade.

It has been a remarkable comeback from the former Hong Kong galloper, who was retired from racing more than two years ago due to tendon issues before being given another chance with Mark Newnham in Sydney.

Newnham says there is no secret formula to the gelding’s resurgence, other than keeping Sunshine Rising happy and sound.

“He is already fit, he already knows how to run, it’s just a matter of keeping him pretty happy with his life and he’s pretty happy with his life at the moment,” Newnham said.

“He gets plenty of attention and he’s a bit of a stable favourite because he’s such a nice old horse.

“Anyone can do anything with him, and he gets plenty of pats and plenty of carrots.”

Runner up to Zeyrek in the Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) last start, Sunshine Rising again faces a competitive field led by the William Haggas-trained Protagonist and Group 1 winners Huetor and Lion’s Roar.

But from an ideal draw in barrier six and with regular partner Nash Rawiller again aboard, Newnham expects another bold run.

“It’s hard to be improving at his age but he’s holding his form really well and these are the type of races where he’s quite well suited,” Newnham said.

“He’s done everything he should do in between runs, it’s just a matter of him getting his head in front now.”

Group 1 placed in the 2019 Chater and Hong Kong Cups, Sunshine Rising has finished outside the top four just once in five Australian runs and is adept on firm and rain-affected tracks.

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