CELEBRATION: Rae Fletcher and family and friends using the G1 Coolmore trophy to keep their Champagne on ice.
CELEBRATION: Rae Fletcher and family and friends using the G1 Coolmore trophy to keep their Champagne on ice. Contributed

Residents gear up for Moranbah races

WHEN it comes to making an appraisal of a race meeting in the coal capital of Queensland, John Juhas chose the words "it's gonna be big”, which were among other words of excitement when speaking about the Treasure Park race track and facilities leading into tomorrow's Isaac Regional Council Race Day.

Juhas said everything had come together "absolutely fabulous”.

"We have had 40ml of rain on the Treasure Park track in recent times and the track looks magnificent with a lush grass cover,” he said.

"The racing surface itself looks fantastic and the fields are fair after the massive glut of racing over the spring carnival.”

The Moranbah community has gotten behind the meeting, with record pre-sold table bookings, and with so many race meetings in and around Central Queensland in the last week over the Melbourne Cup Carnival period, the club was thrilled to receive 20-plus runners for the five-race card, which is quite sound.

Even better, it looked like there would be a full compliment of jockeys riding at Treasure Park tomorrow, Juhas said.

In-form jockey Dale Evans from Rockhampton, who has been enjoying a successful period, has a good book of rides at Treasure Park tomorrow after his last seven days produced winners at Gladstone, Rockhampton and Yeppoon.

Miles trainer Bevan Johnson is always hard to beat at Treasure Park and has a solid contingent of gallopers who will be primed for the occasion.

Johnson's best chance looks to be Thin Disguise in the benchmark 60 over 1170m and will be ridden by his Birdsville Cup-winning stable apprentice Adin Thompson.

The veteran racing journey man, Mackay jockey Stanley Watkins, also has a solid book of rides for the meeting, including the evergreen veteran sprinter Sporting Page from Olivia Cairns' powerhouse Mackay stables, who hold all the aces in the 1000m open handicap .

Rae Fletcher and daughters Shannon and Jordan tasted Group 1 glory in the $1 million Coolmore Stud Stakes on Saturday with their super filly Sunlight.

The exceptional daughter of Zoustar gave her rivals no excuses after denying the challenge of the powerful Chris Waller stable duo, the heavily backed favourite Zousain ($3.40), by a half-neck, with another length back to Lean Mean Machine ($10) in third.

Sunlight ($5.50), with Luke Currie in the saddle, took an early position outside Written By ($4.20) and as the race unfolded the two set a solid pace, with colts Zousain and Lean Mean Machine behind with cover.

Sunlight was all out to get the better of Written By and proved her toughness in answering Zousain's challenge.

Sunlight, the winner of this year's Gold Coast Magic Millions, atoned for her luckless seventh placing in the recent Group I Manikato Stakes, making the trip to Melbourne very fruitful for team Fletcher.

Sunlight is now one of the most valuable fillies in the country, with the Group 1 Coolmore holding sway as second only to the Golden Slipper as the most sought-after races in Australasian breeding.

Sunlight became the first filly since Nechita in 2012 to win the Coolmore.

The super filly will now go for a for a deserved spell, with connections deliberating as to whether her next aim is a return to the Gold Coast for a shot at the $2 million Magic Millions 3yo or whether she remains in Melbourne to contest the sprinting triple crown of the G1 Lightning Stakes, Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap.

Rae and a group of family and friends stayed on for Cup Day to see Sunlight's full sister, who lined up in the $150,000 Group 3 Bumble stakes over 1000m, the opening race.

The aptly named Sisstar ($3.50), who is also prepared by Sunlight trainer Tony McEvoy and was ridden by Sunlight regular Luke Currie, gave connections every indication she will develop into a top-line sprinter after the filly's brave fourth placing.

"Sisstar is a later foal than Sunlight and also had her education disrupted by a very serious cut when she went through a fence not long after she was broken in,” Dan Fletcher said.

"So to get to the races and show such natural ability gives every indication she has a nice future.

"It's amazing to think that if you look at where Sisstar is as a November two-year-old compared to Sunlight, she's arguably done an even better job.

"We're absolutely delighted the stable is now set to put her away and target her at the Slipper. We feel that may be 'the one that got away' for Sunlight.

"We're certainly not getting carried away but someone told me once if you aim for the moon at least you might land on the roof.”


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