Suncraze produced a withering run down the Royal Randwick straight in The Kosciuszko (1200m) on Saturday, finishing second by half a length to Grafton-based roughy Belflyer in the inaugural $1.3 million race for NSW country-based horses.
After receiving interference swinging into the home straight, Suncraze – trained by Tamworth-based Melanie O’Gorman – powered home in wet conditions on a heavy track, but the winning post came too soon.
Suncraze jockey Corey Brown described the five-year-old gelding’s run as “super”.
Brown said: “[He] put on a different sort of character between the 600m and the 300m. But once he stuck to his guns, he hit the line good.”
Belflyer, a seven-year-old gelding having his first start at Randwick, was a $71 outsider and won $685,000. The horse was ridden by Adam Hyeronimus and is trained by John Shelton.
Suncraze, which carried 57 kilograms and was attempting to win at Randwick for the third time, paid $15 and won $260,000 – inflating his career prize money to more than $572,000. It was the eighth time the horse has finished second in 17 starts, against five wins.
It was a surprise performance by Suncraze, given that O’Gorman had talked down his chances due to the heavy track.
Pre-race, she said: “In my favour is he does like Randwick. But I honestly couldn’t guarantee any performance if it’s very wet.”
In a field of 12, After All That, trained at Scone by Rod Northam, finished sixth – five lengths behind the winner.
The Monstar, trained at Scone by Brett Cavanough, finished eighth.