Western Sun has been named Fighting Sun’s most expensive yearling – a $220,000 purchase at the 2018 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling.
The three year-old gelding is quickly clawing back his initial outlay after winning last Saturday’s $205,000 VOBIS Reef at Caulfield.
The past two winners of the VOBIS Reef are the talented Benitoite, proving to be competitive in Group races and the stakes winner, Snitzepeg.
Trained by Matt Cumani, Western Sun will back at Caulfield on April 18 to contest the $500,000 VOBIS Sires Guineas (1600m), a race which is exclusively for the three-year-old progeny of Victorian Stallions.
While Western Star is proudly Victorian bred, his owners are spread outside of the state with one owner from America.
Cumani has high hopes for the gelding and is excited for what may lay ahead for Western Sun.
“It was a great run at Caulfield and a great prize thanks to VOBIS,’’ Cumani remarked.
“He will go on to the VOBIS Sires race in a few weeks. We are hopeful for a competitive start and in the meantime we will look at non restricted races. We will probably aim for the Bendigo Guineas which has unfortunately dropped back to 1400m which isn’t ideal as I’d prefer to keep him at 1600m.
“We may put the blinkers on for the Bendigo Guineas and see how he runs and then we will be heading to the Vobis Sires race.”
Cumani said Western Sun had always been a nice horse and has appeared to be a precocious type which meant he was able to get to the race track early.
They ran him in reverse for the Magic Millions trial at Ballarat when he suffered a minor tibia injury which forced the gelding to a have a long spell.
“He has really developed over the last 12 months, so I am quite impressed with the size and scope of him. He is showing us a great deal of potential,” Cumani said.
“The way he raced on Saturday, he looked like he could relax and race at any distance.’
“ I believe he could get up to 2000m but at the moment I think we will focus at the mile distance. We will see what happens when his up against tougher company and determine the distance.
“Although he doesn’t initially strike you as a stayer, out Fighting Sun, his dam is a Reset mare so there is some staying potential.
“I thought he is one of the most promising from the sire and I would hope that he can get some stakes races for the stallion.
“I think he can keep improving and he is definitely stakes class , whether that’s South Australia or Victoria.”
“He has still got plenty of improvement to come from Saturday as he is not the finished article just yet. We are trying to get him to peak in that race which will be fifth up and I didn’t want to have him too prepared.”
Cumani works closely with Craig Rounsefell, of Boomer Bloodstock in Queensland, and they usually select horses together.
But with Western Sun, Rounsefell selected the yearling and sent him to Cumani sight unseen.
“Boomer bought him for their clients and normally every horse in my stable I buy with Boomer and we select them together. I can’t take any credit for this one as it was purely Boomer,” Cumani said.
“I was obviously delighted to get a horse of that value and he is certainly proving to be a nice horse.”
Cumani said he first met Rounsefell when he was working in America and after starting his training career in Australia he was keen to make sure he didn’t buy European style horses in case they didn’t suit Australian tracks.
“I wanted an Australian agent to help me select horses and to at least temper my desire to buy English style horse. It has worked quite well, and I think he is a very good hardworking, and we have a great relationship,” Cumani said.
Cumani described VOBIS as a fantastic initiative and definitely a great incentive for those eligible.
“I’ll be going to the VOBIS sale in March and if I can see a VOBIS logo on the catalogue page of any horse, it certainly adds a few points’’ he said.
Sun Stud’s nominations and sales manager, Phil Marshall, said Western Star was an exceptional looking yearling who was bought by Boomer Bloodstock’s Rounsefell who he described as an excellent judge.
“It was pleasing to see him go to a good young trainer and Matt Cumani has done a terrific job with him. He is yet to miss a place in his six-start career and looks very progressive,” Marshall said.
“Western Sun will target the inaugural $500,000 3YO VOBIS Sires race over the mile at Caulfield in April and judging by his emphatic victory at the weekend he would have to be one of the leading chances.”
“Another Fighting Sun galloper, Celestial Sol, made his debut in the two-year-old stakes race on the same card and he acquitted himself very well to place third. This colt looks to have a very bright future with the Chris Waller camp and the $1,000,000 2YO VOBIS Sires race looks a logical option for him. It could be a big day for Fighting Sun.”
Marshall said Fighting Sun has had 34 individual winners this season and his progeny earnings exceeding $1.5 million.
Rounsefell remarked Western Sun was a very athletic yearling and showed a lot of quality and class when he inspected him at the sales.
“He was by an unproven sire from a modest family. I thought he was an outstanding type and one that we could target the rich VOBIS series,” Rounsefell said.
“Matt Cumani and I have been friends for some time and have been buying horses together since Matt started training in Australia. I wanted to support Matt with a nice horse and thought he was the ideal horse for his system.”
Rounsefell said he purchased the Western Sun for four of his long term clients – Queenslanders Bill Andrews, who is also part owner of Scales of Justice, and Peter McCallum, while Tony Tighe is from Sydney and Rick Gold is from California.