Veteran 10-year-old Ihtsahymn entered the...
Sunlight co-trainer Calvin McEvoy doesn’t appear too worried about the wide draw ahead of Saturday’s Golden Eagle (1500m).
The three-time Group 1 winner will line up from barrier 16 ahead of the $7.5 million race at Rosehill hoping to make up for last month’s disappointing run at Randwick in The Everest.
Saturday will mark only the fourth time Sunlight has jumped from a double-digit draw in 20 career starts. The four-year-old by Zoustar ran a place in the Group 1 Moir Stakes earlier this campaign after jumping from gate 10, leaving McEvoy feeling optimistic his champion mare can make up ground as the stable looks to stick to a similar strategy.
“One positive thing is the barrier isn’t what we wanted, we wanted an inside draw, especially stepping up in trip. But at least Luke (Currie) wont be dictated too much. It’s a nice long run down the whole back straight there before it turns, so he’ll just take the time. I think he’ll sit there and she just needs to go at her pace, all of her fantastic performances have been when she’s controlled the race and had that sectional to where she had a bit of a breather” McEvoy told Sky Racing on Wednesday.
Sunlight’s typical race pattern is to sit up on the speed, which didn’t work out according to plan in The Everest as Nature Strip put the pace on early. Sunlight spent most of the race chasing, but McEvoy is hoping some added fitness will change that on Saturday.
“I think we had her extremely fit going into The Everest, she had tightened right up and looked really good going into that race. We’ve kept the work up to her going into Saturday but she looks a lot different in two weeks, she’s thinned out again, I couldn’t fault how she looked this morning, she was the perfect picture” McEvoy went on to say.
Sunlight is a long $26.00 chance in Ladbrokes’ Golden Eagle market as she prepares to step up beyond 1200m for the first time. The trip poses several challenges, particularly from the wide draw, but with over $5 million worth of prizemoney already to her name, McEvoy thinks there’s no harm in trying his luck.
“It’s the perfect time to try her, she’s deep into preparation now. We’ll find out on Saturday if she doesn’t happen to run the trip that at least we’ll know for next time. She really came through The Everest well and really pulled up good, so that gave us the confidence to know she can go on” McEvoy said.
Currie has retained the ride on Sunlight since the pair won the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley back in March. Currie has earned close to $1.5 million in prizemoney himself this year, although he’ll need to stay sharp if he wishes to beat home the likes of Brutal, Classique Legend and Kolding from a wide draw.
“She won a Newmarket, she was right up on the speed in an Everest, so I don’t think anything will be able to go with her. But once she does get there, I think Luke’s got to have a good clock in his head and just get her into a nice rhythm of breathing, she’s the sort of horse that will come back to him. She’s very versatile in that fact that when she gets there, she will drop the bridle and cruise along” McEvoy went on to say.
Full Golden Eagle odds can be viewed here.
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