Dubbo trainer Bridget Jones has put in plenty of time and patience to get her warhorse sprinter Murray’s Sun back to the track and is hoping the seven-year-old will make a successful return after a year away from racing at Scone on Friday.
Volcanic Prince gelding Murray’s Sun has had a career marred with injury meaning Jones has been able to start the talented galloper just 18 times.
On Friday he will make his 19th appearance lining up in the $100,000 Scone Quality Handicap (1100m).
His latest run was nearly 15 months ago when Murray’s Sun ran one of the worst races of his life, finishing six lengths away seventh in a handicap event at Rosehill in February 2010.
“He’s had ongoing back problems all his life, but is only lightly-raced for a seven-year-old,” Jones said.
“We had him x-rayed after his last Sydney run which was probably his worst ever performance.
“They found he had a cyst on his hock which had tracked into his joint – we then realised why he ran so badly; it would have been quite aggravating.
“We gave him six months in the paddock and everything was coming right and then a helicopter for some reason hovered about 50 feet above his paddock.
“He was spooked and fell over three times in panic.
“He hurt himself and needed further rest.”
When in form, however, Murray’s Sun has proved he can battle with the best of them.
The gelding has enjoyed nine wins and three minor placings to date, his most recent victory being in The Kay Sprint Handicap (1200m) at Randwick in August 2009 where he bravely fought from last to first in a narrow victory.
Murray’s Sun is also placed at Group level when third to the Chris Waller-trained elite level winner Rangirangdoo in the Group 3 Tramway Handicap (1400m) in the spring of 2009.
“He needs the speed on as he gets back and rattles home but we’re expecting him to finish strongly at Scone,” Jones said.
“Greg Ryan (jockey) has ridden him ever since the horse was broken in, apart from the odd couple of times when he was unavailable, and he is rapt to be back aboard tomorrow.”
The 2011 Scone Quality Handicap attracted 15 final acceptors, but the field is now down to 14 with the early scratching of Royal Discretion.
Murray’s Sun drew barrier 12, but will move into gate 11 and is currently rated a $26 chance.
Scone Quality markets are lead by $2.70 favourite Border Rebel who came up trumps with the inside running from barrier one and Group 1 The Galaxy winner Atomic Force paying $5.50.
The Sue Grills-trained Johannesburg five-year-old Border Rebel has travelled from Queensland for the Scone feature on Friday coming off a smart win in the Listed Winning Edge Hinkler Handicap (1200m) at Eagle Farm on April 23.
“It’s wonderful for Scone and it’s really good for country trainers to have this sort of money and we don’t have to travel too far,” the Tamworth-based Grills said of the stakes on offer at this year’s two-day Scone Carnival.
Grills was also excited over Border Rebel’s prospects tomorrow after the gelding beat a quality field first-up.
“He’s really well and I’m positive he’ll run a very good race,” she said.
“After the Expressway (sixth at Rosehill in February) I put him in the paddock for two or three weeks.
“He came back really well and his speed is good, I think he’s better off being fresh.”
Group 1 glory at the Brisbane Winter Carnival is a possibility for Border Rebel if he shows form at Scone.
“We’ll go to the (Doomben) 10,000 and if he comes through that well and runs a good race he’ll be on to the Stradbroke,” Grills said.
The $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) will run Saturday week and Border Rebel is rated a $16 shot while he is paying longer odds at $21 to take out the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm next month.
Border Rebel will carry 60kg tomorrow with apprentice hoop Timothy Bell booked for the ride while Atomic Force is the 60.5kg topweight of the Scone Quality field.
Prepared by Darren Smith in Newcastle, Danehill Dancer entire Atomic Force burst onto the Group 1 racing scene two starts back with an upset win in The Galaxy at Randwick.
Last start the five-year-old was defeated by Brisbane galloper Buffering, who is lining up against Black Caviar in the BTC Cup at Doomben on Saturday, when runner-up in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on April 30.
Although a Group 1 winner with good form and the ideal gate three draw, Atomic Force is yet to greater than 58.5kg and so looks out-weighted for Friday.