'You definitely can't beat a winner': Bowness bred Sneaky Sunrise promises big future

7 min read
Two-year-old filly Sneaky Sunrise (The Autumn Sun) indicated that bigger things are in store with a consecutive success at Flemington on Saturday. A graduate of Bowness Stud, The Thoroughbred Report spoke to her breeder James Daly to learn more about the promising filly.

Cover image courtesy of Bowness Stud

Bowness Stud, based in Young, is renowned for producing exceptional horses. This fertile breeding ground has nurtured runners like the Champion 3-year-old colt Trapeze Artist, the outstanding filly Funstar (Adelaide {Ire}), and the Group 1-winning half-sister Youngstar (High Chaparral {Ire}).

On Saturday, Bowness Stud showcased another graduate, who could be destined for acclaim: the 2-year-old filly Sneaky Sunrise (The Autumn Sun). Following her second consecutive victory at Flemington, The Thoroughbred Report spoke with Bowness Stud co-owner James Daly to delve deeper into the promising filly's story.

Affinity for Flemington

Trained by the latest generation at the helm of Lindsay Park—Ben, Will, and JD Hayes—Sneaky Sunrise made her debut on April 7 at Bendigo over 1200 metres. Partnered by Daniel Stackhouse, the daughter of The Autumn Sun showed promise, finishing a close second, beaten by just 0.46l behind Snack Bar (Frosted {USA}).

Encouraged by her debut effort, the Hayes brothers moved Sneaky Sunrise up to stakes company in her next start, contesting the Listed Anzac Day S. at Flemington over 1400 metres. She finished second, trailing Epimeles (Dundeel {NZ}) by 4.05l. Notably, Narbold (Churchill {Ire}), who finished second to Epimeles, had been beaten by Sneaky Sunrise on her debut. However, Sneaky Sunrise encountered a less-than ideal race setup, explaining the result.

Sneaky Sunrise | Image courtesy of Racing Photos

Returning to Flemington for another 1400-metre contest, Sneaky Sunrise validated her potential with a commanding 1.5l victory. Her impressive performance prompted considerations for a trip to Queensland for the G1 JJ Atkins S. at Eagle Farm. Ultimately, the decision was made to stay in Victoria as Broadsiding (Too Darn Hot {GB}) clinched the JJ Atkins.

Back at Flemington, this time over 1420 metres, Sneaky Sunrise continued her upward trajectory. With Stackhouse again in the saddle, she showed versatility and determination after a tough trip, to fend off Godolphin’s consistent Pisces (Frosted {USA}) and the fast-finishing pair Henlein (Dundeel {NZ}), a half-brother to dual Group 1 winner Magic Time (Hellbent), and Jenni’s Meadow (Brutal {NZ}).

Astute buy

In 2018, John North of Bowness Stud attended the Inglis Great Southern Sale where he acquired Schifty Thinker for $5000. She was a winning daughter of the Champion racehorse, So You Think (NZ).

Initially purchased for $90,000 by Gerald Ryan and Jadeskye Racing at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Schifty Thinker had notched a victory over 1200 metres at Newcastle before retiring after 11 starts.

Schifty Thinker as a yearling | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

Despite her modest racing career, Schifty Thinker is from the talented Snitzel mare Schiffer, who herself achieved success with two wins, including the Magic Millions Sprint. Schiffer, known for her speed as a 2-year-old, also secured third place in the Listed Magic Millions 2YO Classic and the Wyong Magic Millions 2YO Classic, won by Karuta Queen (Not A Single Doubt).

Also, Schiffer is a half-sister to Eric The Eel (Olympic Glory {Ire}) (renamed Tourbillon Diamond after being sold to Hong Kong), a half-brother who impressed by placing in the G1 Australian Derby and later winning twice in Group 3 races.

“Schifty Thinker is from the talented Snitzel mare Schiffer, who herself achieved success with two wins, including the Magic Millions Sprint.”

"John North purchased Schiffer for Bowness. He really liked the damline. Schiffer was a fast mare and there was a lot of speed in that family, and then the So You Think element, being a son of High Chaparral; It’s proven and something we thought would work," Daly told TTR AusNZ.

The Autumn Sun, a perfect match!

Schifty Thinker was bred to Coolmore’s brilliant sprinter, Caravaggio (USA), resulting in a colt named Italian Virtuoso, who was sold for $40,000 to Anthony Freedman Racing and Blue Sky Bloodstock at the 2021 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. Italian Virtuoso, now gelded, is a winner.

After missing to Extreme Choice, Schifty Thinker was then bred to Arrowfield Stud’s exceptional stallion, The Autumn Sun, a son of the legendary Redoute’s Choice. The Autumn Sun, known for his five Group 1 victories including the Caulfield Guineas and Randwick Guineas, has made a significant impact with his first crop of 3-year-olds this season.

The Autumn Sun | Standing at Arrowfield

Notably, his daughters Autumn Angel won the G1 Australian Guineas, Vibrant Sun secured the G1 Australasian Oaks, and Coco Sun claimed the G1 South Australian Derby.

Daly commented, “Schifty Thinker’s first foal, Italian Virtuoso, won, and Sneaky Sunrise, her second foal, has now won two in a row and looks like a really tough filly. We at Bowness Stud back ourselves to breed good, tough horses. It shows you don’t have to spend a lot of money; Schifty Thinker only cost $5000 at the Inglis Great Southern Sale. It’s just important to find the right match.”

Regarding why The Autumn Sun was chosen, Daly explained, “I think crossing Redoute’s Choice over the High Chaparral line is a very strong cross. Obviously, The Autumn Sun was an exceptional horse. He’s been producing some very good horses lately. While it took him a bit longer to get going, as expected with most stallions, he has shown he can produce nice 2-year-olds as well. Sneaky Sunrise has demonstrated that she’s a very tough horse with good speed.”

“We at Bowness Stud back ourselves to breed good, tough horses. It shows you don’t have to spend a lot of money; Schifty Thinker only cost $5000 at the Inglis Great Southern Sale. It’s just important to find the right match.” - James Daly

Referring to the Redoute’s Choice/High Chaparral (Ire) cross, Bowness Stud’s resident stallion, D’Argento, as an example bred on this successful pattern. D’Argento, a Group 1 winner, is by So You Think out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Fullazz.

Following Sneaky Sunrise’s birth in September, Schifty Thinker was then bred to Coolmore’s The Everest victor, Yes Yes Yes, resulting in a colt named Come Mr Tallyman, who was passed in at the 2024 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. Subsequently, she was covered by Coolmore’s Acrobat, a son of Fastnet Rock, producing a filly in October before missing to Newgate Farm’s Tiger Of Malay.

“Acrobat had a lot of speed and he’s part of that Danehill sireline, so he should inject some speed back into her, being a daughter of So You Think. I think we will produce a nice, strong, sharp horse,” Daly anticipated.

Jocelyn and James Daly

Looking ahead, Daly expressed his plans, “She’s empty now after missing to Tiger Of Malay last season. But potentially, taking her back to The Autumn Sun would be a good move. She has worked well with him, with the potential for a stakes-class filly in Sneaky Sunrise.

One tough filly

Bowness Stud presented Sneaky Sunrise at the 2023 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, where she sold for $180,000 to Lindsay Park Racing and MyRacehorse.

Reflecting on the daughter of The Autumn Sun as a foal, Daly said, “She was always a nice foal and always had the looks. We presented her at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, so she definitely looked the part. She was a tough horse though; you had to spend a fair bit of time with her early on to get her to come to hand, but she always had the ability to focus when needed.”

Sneaky Sunrise as a yearling | Image courtesy of Inglis

Commenting on the price, Daly added, “We were very happy with $180,000. Some good judges purchased her, so we were all very pleased. If you get them into a good home and they get the opportunity, it tends to pay dividends later on. You definitely can't beat a winner.”

Sneaky Sunrise
The Autumn Sun
James Daly
Bowness Stud