Friday focus – Festival Stakes runner-by-runner guide

An in-depth look at every runner in the $200,000 Group 3 Furphy Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

1. Sunshine Rising (Mark Newnham): Is an intriguing runner who resumes after having 671 days off the scene but has trialled well and looks wound up for this event. The import brings elite Group 1 WFA form lines where she ran third and started $3.20 in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m), albeit a few years ago. Further, in his latest start, he was only beaten 2.5 lengths by champion gelding Golden Sixty. It's a big ask for a nine-year-old to win after having so much time away, but he brings a strong profile for a race like this and is a key late-market watch.

2. Kirwans Lane (John O'Shea): Had every chance when winning last start at Hawkesbury but knuckled down hard late to score and ran one of the fastest final 1 f splits of the meeting. He must contend with a tricky gate, but has been racing consistently this prep and will be running on.

3. Lions Roar (John O'Shea): Was wide throughout and working at a fast pace last start in The Hunter (1300m). He will be fitter for that effort, but prefer him deeper into his preparation.

4. Skyman (Chris Waller): Was run to suit first-up in The Hunter (1300m) but ran on well, and that race rated highly relative to the day even after adjustments. The seven-year-old will be fitter for that effort, has a strong second-up record and is suited up in distance. In addition, McDonald sticks, and he can rate to win.

5. Mirra Vision (Peter & Paul Snowden): Ran second in the Group 1 TAB Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) last start and was honest in defeat, albeit starting $61. The mare has improved throughout her campaign and is well-placed here. She will need some luck from the tricky draw, but a repeat of her last start will put her in the finish.

6. Kubrick (Chris Waller): Resumes and trialled well at Kensington recently, where he went through the line full of energy. The gelding was solid last prep, and although preferred deeper into his prep, he must go in all wider exotics.

7. Coal Crusher (Joe Pride): Produced a career peak figure at Newcastle last start after leading at an even tempo and sprinted hard to score. The five-year-old, who is a consistent tough on-pace runner, maps to control the pace again. In addition, he can make the step-in grade and if he can hold his last start figure expect him to be in the finish.

8. Charleise (John O'Shea): was 28 days between runs last start in the Group 2 Hot Danish (1400m) at this track and had factors against. Further, she wasn't suited to getting back in a farcical tempo and then was blocked for a run in the straight. To her credit, she picked herself up and closed off well, running strong closing splits. Add to wider exotics.

9. Cliff's Art (Matthew Smith): SCRATCHED.

10. Kiss Sum (Tracy Bartley): Forget last start in the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) where nothing went right. Prior to that start, she had multiple factors against in the Silver Eagle (1300m) but still ran on hard, clocking some of the fastest closing splits and was strong through the line. The four-year-old is ready to peak third-up and has multiple winning figures. Definite chance.

11. Cisco Bay (Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou): Arguably should've won The Big Dance (1600m) where he was checked at critical stages losing momentum, but once clear, he surged to the line and beat the rest easily. He is in career-best form and can settle closer with the softer draw.

12. Jojo Was A Man (John Thompson): Was a complete forget where it was reported he was making abnormal respiratory noises. He can bounce back on a dry track and has a perfect map. Moreover, he has a fantastic affiliation with jockey Reece Jones where they have paired up five times for three wins and a second.

13. Divine Magic (Annabel Neasham): Was even in her Australian debut at Rosehill 21 days ago. She will be fitter for that but needs to improve significantly.

14. Dajraan (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott): Resumes and has had two solid hit outs at the trials in preparation for this assignment. The five-year-old is wound up for this, will roll forward and is a late market watch.

15. Loch Eagle (Kris Lees): Was 28 days between runs and comes through the same race as Coal Crusher last start. The four-year-old got too far back but ran on hard and recorded strong closing splits relative to the meeting. Expect him to settle closer, and the step up to 7 1⁄2 f is ideal.


1. Sunshine Rising
4. Skyman
7. Coal Crusher

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