The Rising Sun field taking shape ahead of second edition of the race

02 June 2022 | Jordan Gerrans
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The Group 1 AQWA Constructions The Rising Sun is shaping up to be one of the hottest races during the 2022 TAB Queensland Constellations.

With just over a month before the southern hemisphere’s richest race for three and four-year-old pacers, it is a great time to take stock and evaluate the confirmed runners as well as noting how other pacers can force their way into the field.

Racing Queensland and the Albion Park club have handed out all four of the invites that were available for the second edition of $305,000 The Rising Sun: Leap To Fame, Ripp, Better Eclipse and Ladies In Red.

Bondi Lockdown was originally one of the four pacers invited and accepted for the race, but connections decided – following accepting the invite – that they will instead send the horse for a well-deserved spell.

Bondi Lockdown’s position was then handed to Ladies In Red – with the team behind her quickly snaffling the opportunity.

 

The confirmed runners:

Leap To Fame

The Queenslander has not been seen at the races since claiming the memorable NSW Derby earlier this year and is due back at the trials soon as he builds into his next campaign.

The Grant Dixon trained and driven colt has won 11 of his 14 career starts, highlighted by the Group 1 NSW Derby at Menangle in March.

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Ripp

Prepared by the Hewitt stable in Bathurst, Ripp already has two Group 1 feature victories on his resume from just seven career starts and will look to add to that in the Sunshine State this winter.

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Ripp is only a lightly raced three-year-old, having a year off the scene through 2021 following a serious tendon injury.

While there were fears he would not get back to his best, the pacer has quickly rattled off a pair of Group 1 triumphs, one on his home track at Bathurst before heading into Menangle in late April to nab another.

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Ladies In Red

The Victorian-based mare is trained by the all-conquering Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin team.

Ladies In Red has been ranked up with the best fillies Australia has seen with her 22 starts netting a staggering 18 wins and four seconds.

 

Better Eclipse

The four-year-old announced himself as one of the nation’s most exciting pacers when claiming a maiden Group 1 title earlier this year, scorching the track in what was one of the fastest races seen in Australasian pacing history to take out the Chariots of Fire.

His next start solidified his status amongst the top echelon, with an impressive third place finish in the famous $1 million Group 1 Miracle Mile behind the nation’s premier standardbred, King Of Swing.  

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The other spots up for grabs: 

The remainder of the field – outside the invited four - will be made up of the winner of the Queensland Sun – an automatic entry race to be run on July 2 at Albion Park - and seven horses plus one emergency from the nominations, which close with Racing Queensland at 10am on July 4.

“The balance of the field will be made up by the winner of the Queensland Sun or through the nomination process,” Racing Queensland’s Senior Harness Racing Manager David Brick said.

“It is important to note there is only four invites for the race, other than the Queensland Sun, which is an auto entry race the week before, all the rest of the positions in the race come through nominations, which closes on July 4.

“Some people might be putting their hands up for spots into the race, which is great, and we certainly encourage those wanting to gain a start in the race to nominate.

“It will be a tough contest and a tough decision for our handicappers to make.”

Earlier this year, it was confirmed that The Rising Sun – to be staged at The Creek on Saturday, July 9 – would receive a $50,000 prize money increase, to be run for $305,000 in 2022.

The race also offers a $100,000 bonus for a three-year-old winner.

The Queensland Sun, an addition to this year’s carnival, will be restricted to horses trained by a ‘Queensland trainer’.

For clarity a ‘Queensland trainer’ will include trainers who permanently reside and train in the Tweed Local Government Area and race almost all of their starters in Queensland.

First run in 2021 as a part of the inaugural TAB Queensland Constellations, it was the father-and-son combination of Mark and Nathan Purdon who were successful with star mare Amazing Dream.

In line with RQ’s focus on innovation, a 'pick your own barrier' element will be added to the existing preferential barrier draw for The Rising Sun, which is expected to add further intrigue to the race.

Throughout the Constellations, more than $2.5 million in prize money and bonuses will go on the line, including 11 Group 1s.

Click here for more information on the 2022 TAB Queensland Constellations.

 

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