Aquis snaps up Camilleri’s star mare for The Everest

6 min read
Just a few months ago, James Harron Bloodstock paid $3.9 million for brilliant mare Sunshine In Paris (Invader), who now races in John Camilleri's Fairway Thoroughbreds colours. Now, he has the chance to recoup all of that, and then some.

Cover image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

Fresh off her brilliant first-up win in Saturday’s G2 Sheraco S. at Rosehill, star 4-year-old Sunshine In Paris was on Monday confirmed as a starter in next month’s The Everest, after Aquis secured the John Camilleri-owned mare for its slot in the $20 million race.

Camilleri, who bred the great Winx (Street Cry {Ire}), has won a host of feature races in Australia and competed in most. He told The Thoroughbred Report he was delighted to have a runner in one of Australia’s biggest contests.

“It’s a real privilege. It’s a real privilege to own any horse on any of these big carnival days. It’s a great thrill,” Camilleri told The Thoroughbred Report.

“It’s a real privilege. It’s a real privilege to own any horse on any of these big carnival days. It’s a great thrill.” - John Camilleri

The Annabel Neasham-trained Sunshine In Paris was having her first start in Camilleri’s famous Fairway Thoroughbreds silks on Saturday, having purchased her for $3.9 million (via James Harron Bloodstock) from the Newgate Consignment at this year’s Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale in May.

“We bought what we believed was a lovely Group 1-winning broodmare at the sale. Hopefully the racing upside justified the premium. That was the plan and she certainly hasn’t let us down so far,” Camilleri commented.

“She’s very lightly raced, so there’s hopefully plenty of good races left in her. Annabel is full of praise for the mare; she’s only had six starts and she was a maiden about 10 months ago.

John Camilleri | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

“She’s done an amazing job.”

Camilleri said the main target for his mare this spring is the $10 million Golden Eagle, which will take place at Rosehill on November 4.

“The Everest doesn’t interrupt what Annabel’s plans were; it’s a nice steppingstone, one worth huge prizemoney. It doesn’t interrupt her program whatsoever,” said Camilleri.

“The Everest doesn’t interrupt what Annabel’s (Neasham) plans were (with Sunshine In Paris); it’s a nice steppingstone, one worth huge prizemoney.” - John Camilleri

‘Incredibly exciting’

From the winning Zabeel (NZ) mare Zenaida, Sunshine In Paris was bred by Aquis Farm, before being offered as an unraced 3-year-old by Blue Sky Premium Consignment at the 2022 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. There, she was knocked down to Champagne Bloodstock for $90,000.

Making her debut in a Canberra maiden in November 2022 as a 3-year-old, Sunshine In Paris won easily under Alysha Collett. She then finished third behind the handy mare Stroll (Snitzel) in Listed company at Doomben, before venturing south to Sydney. After taking out a BM78 at Randwick on Christmas Eve, Sunshine In Paris was touched off by the speedy In Secret (I Am Invincible) in the G2 Light Fingers S. Neasham’s mare exacted revenge at her next start in the G1 Surround S., flashing late to blouse a quality field, one that included Group 1 heroines Ruthless Dame (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}), In Secret and Zougotcha (Zoustar).

Sunshine In Paris | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

Aquis’ Director of Sales, Jonathan Davies said the team is thrilled to be represented by a mare it bred, one with an enormous amount of ability and is by a stallion they stand.

“She’s by our own stallion in Invader, who is great value at $10,000 plus GST. She was his first Group 1 winner and sired from his first crop, so it’s incredibly exciting,” Davies told TTR AusNZ.

“To have her running in The Everest - a race worth $20 million - it’s quite special for the whole team.”

“To have her (Sunshine In Paris) running in The Everest - a race worth $20 million - it’s quite special for the whole team.” - Jonathan Davies

Davies revealed Saturday’s Sheraco victory confirmed Aquis’ belief that Sunshine In Paris has what it takes to mix it with the best sprinters in the land.

“She was electric on Saturday. She was first-up, but her sectionals were brilliant and she was hugely impressive,” he said.

“She’s only had six career starts and she’s already a Group 1 winner.

“I think on Saturday she has shown that she’s taken the next step.”

Jockey Ryan Maloney was effusive in his praise of Sunshine In Paris on Saturday, telling the media post-race he thought the win was “next level”.

“It was a good Everest audition that’s for sure,'” Maloney said.

“To think that she’s come back even better than last prep even though she was a Group 1 winner, she is getting better with time, it’s pretty hard to say where the ceiling is.”

Jonathan Davies | Image courtesy of Aquis

Davies said Aquis is delighted to partner up with Camilleri and Neasham in what has become one of Australia’s greatest races.

“It’s a big investment to purchase a mare for $3.9 million, but through James Harron, John and (wife) Debbie have themselves a very special mare and we’re rapt to be teaming up with them and Annabel,” Davies explained.

“The race isn’t that far away and it promises to be another good version of The Everest.”

“John (Camilleri) and (wife) Debbie have themselves a very special mare (Sunshine In Paris) and we’re rapt to be teaming up with them and Annabel (Neasham).” - Jonathan Davies

The Everest picture

Sunshine In Paris becomes the fifth confirmed runner for the October 14 The Everest and she joins fellow Group 1 winners Giga Kick (Scissor Kick), I Wish I Win (NZ) (Savabeel), Mazu (Maurice {Jpn}) and Think About It (So You Think {NZ}).

Last year’s The Everest hero, the dual Group 1 winner Giga Kick, will race for James Harron Bloodstock, while the Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman-trained I Wish I Win, who was second to Giga Kick in the G1 TJ Smith S. in April, will represent Trackside Media. Third in last year’s The Everest, the Team Snowden-trained Mazu will run for The Star and Arrowfield and Joseph Pride’s multiple Group 1 scorer Think About It carries the hopes of Newgate and GPI Racing.

Seven slotholders are still without a representative and they are Chris Waller Racing, Australian Turf Club, Coolmore, Max Whitby and Neil Werrett, TAB, Yulong Investments and Godolphin.

Sunshine In Paris
The Everest
Jonathan Davies
John Camilleri