Top trainer of two-year-olds Tony McEvoy has his well-bred filly Sunlight engaged in a risky lead-up mission at the Gold Coast this weekend before her shot at the following Saturday’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic.
The daughter of Zoustar was last seen breaking her maiden status on December 23 at the Gold Coast track with an ultra-impressive four and a quarter length victory in a two-years-old handicap over 900m.
Sunlight will now use this Saturday’s $50,000 QTIS Two-Years-Old Handicap (1100m) as a final lead-up into the Restricted Listed $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) field back at the track on January 13.
Currently the filly sits equal 15th on the 2018 Magic Millions 2YO Classic order of entry having amassed $52,000 in total career prize money to date.
She looks all but assured of a start in the capacity 16-horse field, but will still run on Saturday to bring her on fitness-wise.
“She’s taken no harm from it [her last start] and she bounced out of it really well but that little sweeten-up I gave her, she just did a little too well on me and I’m sure she needs another race,” McEvoy explained to Racing Victoria.
“She needs another run before she gets to the pressure cooker of the Magic Millions so I am looking forward to the Gold Coast on Saturday.
“She’d had the one look at the track, she’ll have another look at the track and she’ll be like a local by the time the final comes around.”
Sunlight’s other start was at Flemington back on October 7 during the spring where she ran a close third behind Nomothaj (1st) and Ranier (2nd) in the Listed $120,000 Maribyrnong Trial Plate (1000m).
The decision to run Sunlight on successive Saturdays does not come without risk, but recent history reveals that three of the past five Magic Millions 2YO Classic winners had their last start a week before the lucrative feature.
“Running seven days out from the grand final, there’s always risks involved with any horse doing that but she’s a gross-doing filly and she’s very sound,” McEvoy said.
“Certainly if I was worried, I wouldn’t be doing it, but everything I’ve asked her to do all the way through she’s handled with ease and wants more.”
Toby Edmonds’ filly Houtzen (2017) saluted over 1100m at the Gold Coast by four and a half-lengths before her success last summer, the Darryl Hansen-trained Le Chef (2015) won over 1200m at the track by that same big margin two years before, and Real Surreal (2013) had her last start at Eagle Farm for a 1000m win by over three lengths.
Sunlight could be Angaston-based trainer McEvoy’s sole Magic Millions 2YO Classic starter this summer after his All American colt Crockett ran seventh at Doomben last Saturday behind Meryl in the Group 3 $200,000 Magic Millions B.J. McLachlan Stakes (1200m).
“I am going up there [to the Gold Coast] tomorrow [Wednesday] to have a look at him,” McEvoy said.
“He was very disappointing on Saturday. He had a horrible run in the race but was also very plain.
“That’s not him. I know he’s a better horse than that and I’ll have a look at him and if he’s fine, he’ll definitely press on.”
Crockett is 18th on the order of entry and out to a roughie quote of $51 in all-in Magic Millions Classic betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Those futures markets list Sunlight as a $6.50 shot behind only the co-$4 favourites Ef Troop and Jonker who share the sire Spirit Of Boom.