Hong Kong galloper Rising again

Sunshine Rising is arguably the most intriguing horse competing anywhere in the country this weekend.

Trainer Mark Newnham will be as interested as anybody to see how former Hong Kong gelding Sunshine Rising handles his first Australian test at Rosehill. 

On the one hand, the horse boasts world-class formlines, having claimed the scalp of champion Beauty Generation to win the 2019 Sha Tin Trophy before finishing third in that year's Group 1 Hong Kong Cup on International day. 

But he is also a nine-year-old on the comeback trail from tendon issues that have restricted him to just one start in three years. 

"Tendons are either good or they're not," Newnham said. 

"It's not one of those things you can manage, they've either got a tendon strain or they haven't and at the moment, his looks to have repaired well. 

"He is moving really well, he doesn't move like an older horse, and he hasn't had a lot of racing, he's only had 22 starts. 

"He's got a great action, a good attitude. The times we've asked him to do a little bit you can feel he is a high-class animal." 

Sunshine Rising was retired after finishing fifth to Golden Sixty at Group 1 level in January 2021, left to spend his days in a lush paddock in New Zealand. 

But after a lengthy break, the horse was in such good health that his owner asked former champion jockey Shane Dye to contact Newnham about putting him back into work. 

After having the gelding's tendon scanned and given the all-clear, Newnham set about getting Sunshine Rising fit. 

His first serious test came in a Randwick barrier trial last month when he powered to the line to finish on the heels of the placegetters, before improving again at his second hitout to surge along the rails for an eye-catching second to the well-performed Purple Sector

Race pressure will be a different kettle of fish but Newnham is quietly confident Sunshine Rising can at least make his presence felt in Saturday's Group 3 Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill. 

"It's a dive into the unknown but I wouldn't run him unless I thought he'd run well," Newnham said. 

"He might be a little ring rusty, he has only had one start in three years and they can be unused to race day pressure. 

"But his trials indicate he is still willing. 

"From that draw, he can settle midfield or a touch worse and he should be hitting the line strongly." 

Sunshine Rising has had some early support, in from $8 to $6 with TAB fixed odds to share the second line of betting with Kiss Sum

Mirra Vision, Group 1 placed in the Empire Rose Stakes last start, holds market sway at $5.50. 

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