Murray's Sun for Saturdays Razor Sharp Handicap
Group-placed Murray’s Sun, the bush horse bought for $900, is much more than a cheap horse comes good fairytale.
The lightly-raced six-year-old is proving an inspiration to those close to him and more recently the people of Dubbo in the NSW central west.
His story continues at Randwick on Saturday when he lines up in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m).
Randwick has been a happy hunting ground for Murray’s Sun who was third to Rangirangdoo last start in the Group Three Tramway Handicap (1400m) in September.
A start earlier at the eastern suburbs track he rocketed home from near last to defeat Sacred Orders by a half-neck over Saturday’s distance.
Murray’s Sun, or Sunny as he’s known to trainer Bridget Jones, has won nine of his 16 starts and almost $130,000 in prizemoney.
"He is a good story. He cost us nothing, he was a lucky buy really and I named him after my nephew who at the time was critically ill in hospital," Jones said.
"Sunny is just something special to our family and now the people of Dubbo too.
"My nephew is now 14, he was 10 at the time we got Sunny and he spent six months in hospital but he’s fine now which is wonderful."
Jones juggles training her small team of horses with running a kitchen benchtop manufacturing business in Dubbo with her partner Brian Currey.
But thanks to the success of Murray’s Sun, Jones could be moving fulltime into the training ranks soon.
"I’m knocking back horses all the time and had to knock back four last week," Jones said.
"At the moment he’s taken over our lives this horse.
"I certainly want it to be a fulltime job, it’s just a matter of getting things organised and taking the right steps at the right time."
Murray’s Sun will go to the paddock after Saturday and be saved for Sydney in the autumn.
"It’s very possible that somehow I’m going to have to pack up here and take him and the two-year-old I’ve got to move down closer to the city for a while," Jones said.
"Because of the travelling and the way it knocks him around, he basically runs a race and a half before he actually races.
"He doesn’t settle well overnight anywhere so we travel down on the day, so I’d like to have him closer to town in the autumn."
Murray’s Sun will be having his first race in 15 weeks and boasts an impressive first-up record with four wins from five starts.
"We’ve had the usual problems getting him ready for this race because of his ongoing back problems but we seem to have him right and he’s working really well," Jones said.
The swooper has drawn barrier seven of 15 and will be ridden for the third straight time by Chris Munce.
"It gives me great confidence that Chris rates the horse so highly," Jones said.
"We’re drawn well and the horse loves Randwick, it’s perfect for him, the wide open spaces and the big long straight."
Jones can’t believe that her little horse has generated so much excitment.
"Everybody adores him in Dubbo," Jones said.
"I get stopped by people I’ve never met before saying `I’ve seen you on TV, how’s Murray’s Sun?’
"It’s blown us all away and we can’t believe this once scrawny little horse has sparked so much interest."
Murray’s Sun is proving a hit with Sydneysiders too with his trademark flying finish.
"He seems to get turbocharged in that 150 metres. I don’t know what he does but his whole outlook and stride changes," Jones said.
"My accountant told me that watching Sunny gives him goosebumps and I’d agree with that.
"I just hope he runs well, it’s going to be difficult with the trip up and the heat but we know he’ll be giving it everything he has, he always does."
By Russell Jackson