Sunlight Calls Sydney Home As Everest Bid Begins

By Ray Hickson

Classy mare Sunlight is all set to kick off her preparation aimed squarely at the $14 million TAB Everest when she contests a 900m trial at Randwick next Monday.

Trainer Tony McEvoy (Pic: Steve Hart).

That trial session is also shaping up as the starting point for Chris Waller’s two star Western Australian mares, and Everest runners, Arcadia Queen and Enticing Star.

Trainer Tony McEvoy was in Sydney on Tuesday as Sunlight settled into the Randwick digs she will call home between now and November.

He confirmed Sunlight, $9 in TAB’s Everest market, will have a five start Sydney campaign commencing with the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) on September 7 and culminating in the $7.5m The Golden Eagle (1500m) on November 2.

“Five runs for the prep is very doable for her,’’ McEvoy said.

“The deeper into her prep she goes the better she seems to get and now that she’s more mature I think that will be even more so.

“She’s going the same as she always has but I think she has grown a bit.

“She’s a different style of filly now, she was always very chunky and heavy and she’s stretched out a bit now. I think it is going to make her better.’’

Sunlight’s spring preparation will be as follows:

August 12 – Barrier trial
August 27 – Barrier trial
September 7 – Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m)
September 21 – Group 2 The Shorts (1100m)
October 5 – Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m)
October 19 – $14m The TAB Everest (1200m)
November 2 – $7.5m The Golden Eagle (1500m).

When asked how Sunlight, last seen running a game third in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes in April, is coming up this preparation McEvoy replied she’s “super, I couldn’t be more pleased’’.

But he’s thrown out an early warning not to expect her to beat what is shaping as a mini-Everest field in the Concorde Stakes with Redzel, Pierata, Osborne Bulls, Nature Strip, Zoustyle all pencilled in and Santa Ana Lane and In Her Time possibles.

“She doesn’t win first-up, she takes a couple of trials and a race so we won’t be expecting too much first-up,’’ McEvoy said.

“As always she runs very well, she ran third in the Lightning first-up last prep.

“She has to build into her preparation and because the Everest is her target, that’s the one we want, she won’t be wound up on the 7th September.’’

Sunlight runs third in the TJ Smith Stakes in April

Jockey Luke Currie will be in Sydney next week to ride Sunlight in her trial and all through the campaign, as McEvoy jokes – “he takes the colours home and won’t give them back’’.

Sunlight is joined in Sydney by stablemate Pretty Brazen who will contest the Princess Series, starting with the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) on August 24, and possibly the $1m Golden Rose.

The filly will also trial next week, she has a first-up maiden win at Murray Bridge late last month under the belt, but she’s already proven herself capable against some of the best of her age.

“She was beaten a nostril by Microphone at Flemington (on debut) and was an unlucky fifth in the Millennium and won impressively first-up the other day,’’ he said.

Last year’s Flight Stakes winner Oohood is scheduled to resume in Melbourne this weekend and McEvoy said he hasn’t ruled out a switch to Sydney later in the campaign.