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Sunlight set for Golden Eagle challenge

tony mcevoy
Trainer Tony McEvoy will try Sunlight over 1500m in the $7.5 million Golden Eagle at Rosehill.

After digging deeper into Sunlight’s performance in The Everest, co-trainer Tony McEvoy is happy to bite the bullet for a shot at the Golden Eagle.

Sunlight finished 10th behind Yes Yes Yes in The Everest on October 19, leaving the trainer puzzled and searching for answers.

“When we dissected the race she still ran the fastest 1200 metres she’s ever run so it wasn’t a disastrous run, but she finished well below what we wanted,” McEvoy said.

“I’ve since run a few tests on her to see if she was OK, and she’s perfect.”

He has given Sunlight the thumbs-up to run in the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

It will be new territory for Sunlight who, in 20 starts that include 11 wins, is yet to race beyond 1200m.

“It’s always risky, but she’s three times a winner down the straight at Flemington over 1200 metres and there’s an old saying that it takes a 1400-metre horse to do that, and she’s done it from the front,” McEvoy said.

“In The Everest they were going sub-11 seconds (200m sectionals), but at Rosehill she’ll be going slower than that and will enjoy it.

“Hopefully she can relax and enjoy it and we know she’s got a fight at the finish if she needs it.”

The trainer has ruled out a first-up shot at the Darley Sprint Classic on the final day of Melbourne Cup week with Hey Doc.

The dual Group One winner has not raced since September 2018 after undergoing surgery to remove bone chips.

Hey Doc narrowly won a jump-out over 800m at Flemington last Friday, with McEvoy saying the gelding needs more work ahead of his return.

“He used his action well and was quite powerful until the last 100 (metres) when he got very tired,” McEvoy said.

“We took our time with him and the biggest thing we had to do was manage his weight.

“I think we’ve done it well but I just don’t think he’s ready enough for the Darley Sprint Classic on what he showed.”

McEvoy said the Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Sandown on November 16 was an option ahead of a possible tilt at the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth two weeks later.

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