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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SATURDAY: January 7, 2023: A wet Canterbury last night produced both Edward Cummings’ second city winner of the season and his talented mare Sunborn’s second career victory in town.

And whilst Sunborn already numbers five overall wins to her name, her Hawkesbury trainer has no doubts there should be more.

Everything worked out perfectly for Cummings’ mare, who was well backed to start $4.20 second favorite behind Twilight Affair ($1.80) in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1250m) for her sex five-year-old and upwards.

Given a cosy run from the inside barrier by Josh Parr – who won two Group 1s last autumn for Cummings on Duais – Sunborn quickly put paid to her rivals once she got into the clear in the straight and scored by three and a half lengths.

Linguee ($21) finished gamely to snatch second, just in front of another Hawkesbury mare, Claire Lever’s Grace Bay ($7), who cut the favorite out of third placing on the post.

“Sunborn has always been a good traveller at tempo in her races,” Cummings said this morning.

“But her record definitely should be much better.”

After winning on debut over 900m at Newcastle in December 2019, she was a luckless fifth in the $2m Inglis Millennium (1100m) on a very heavy Warwick Farm track a couple of months later.

But it was a nasty incident in a race at Rosehill Gardens in July 2020 which claimed the life of another runner and put her off the scene for nearly 12 months.

Whilst Sunborn was very lucky not to fall when she suffered severe interference that day, she didn’t escape unscathed.

She required surgery for a fracture to her near fore splint bone, and didn’t reappear until the following June.

Sunborn subsequently won twice at her home track in August and September 2021, and then graduated to town with an authoritative victory in a Midway (1100m Benchmark 72 Handicap) against her own sex at Royal Randwick in April last year.

That was on a “Heavy 10”, so last night’s “Heavy 8” downgrade following rain in Sydney throughout the day held no fears at all.

Sunborn had a benchmark 69 rating prior to her success, and her trainer will await a revised rating by the RacingNSW handicapping panel before deciding her next assignment.

“We will probably go back to a Benchmark 78 and even better if we can find one to keep her against her own sex,” Cummings said.

. Cummings had sone “inside info” when he paid $58,000 for Sunborn at the 2019 Inglis Classic yearling sale Highway session.

His multiple Group 1 winning trainer father Anthony prepared both her sire Casino Prince (2008 Chipping Norton Stakes victor) and the Fastnet Rock mare Honeymoon Cruise, who raced only three times.

Sunborn is Honeymoon Cruise’s third foal, and she has now earned just over $234,000 (including a BOBS bonus).

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