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Boom youngster ready to Ripp in The Rising Sun

The team behind boom youngster Ripp have long been hoping an invite for the second edition of AQWA Constructions The Rising Sun would come and they were elated when it was finally offered.

Prepared by the Hewitt stable in Bathurst, Ripp already has two Group 1 feature victories on his resume from just seven career starts and will look to add to that in the Sunshine State this winter.

The son of Somebeachsomewhere is the latest invitee to the $305,000 AQWA Constructions The Rising Sun, joining Group 1-star Better Eclipse and Ladies In Red, who have already been revealed as starters.

Trained by Bernie Hewitt and driven by his son Doug, Ripp’s connections – Wayne and Julie Loader – always had eyes on Queensland’s winter features.

“He has knocked over a couple of pretty big scalps early in his career and this race was always on the radar as we were always going to take up a team to Queensland, he was always going to be one of them,” Doug Hewitt said.

“Talking to Wayne the owner, it was always one of our hopes to be invited to a race like this.

“When it came through, it put all our plans into place for us and now hopefully we have him ready for the big race in Brisbane.”

The process around handing out invites for the Southern Hemisphere’s richest race for three and four-year-old pacers is a collaborative one, according to Racing Queensland’s Senior Harness Racing Manager David Brick.

“Between our handicappers and the Albion Park club each week, particularly when there is feature racing on, they will come together and have a discussion around those races,” Brick said.

“Once they have decided on a horse, we will go through the process of contacting connections and speaking to them and if they accept, they are in the race.

“We think it is good from a talkability standpoint to hand these invites out and see people jockeying for them, as there are only four invites to be handed out.

“The race is setting itself to be one of the jewels in the harness racing calendar.”

Ripp is only a lightly raced three-year-old, having a year off the scene through 2021 following a serious tendon injury.

While there were fears he would not get back to his best, the pacer has quickly rattled off a pair of Group 1 triumphs, one on his home track at Bathurst before heading into Menangle in late April to nab another.

“He is a massive, big three-year-old and for him to go and do what he did in the Chalice and then back it up a couple of weeks later in the APG Final, it was definitely special for me to be going to these big races with such a quality animal,” Doug said.

“Even for Bern to be training horses like him, it is unreal at the moment.”

During his northern trip, Ripp is likely to also contest the Group 3 South East Derby before the Group 1 Queensland Derby a week later.

Bernie is set to take the team of horses north for the TAB Queensland Constellations with Doug to look after the stable back home, while also travelling to Albion Park on the weekend for the key drives.

“We are still working out if we give him another hit-out before that or if trials will be suffice, but we will work that out as we come along and see how he is building up,” Doug said.

“Bern will look to take the team up in a months’ time to settle them in and get them ready.

“Hopefully, the big fella is rolling along nicely by then and he will be ready for it.”

Earlier this year, it was confirmed that The Rising Sun – to be staged at The Creek on Saturday, July 9 – would receive a $50,000 prize money increase, to be run for $305,000 in 2022.

The race also offers a $100,000 bonus for a three-year-old winner.

First run in 2021 as a part of the inaugural TAB Queensland Constellations, it was the father-and-son combination of Mark and Nathan Purdon who were successful with star mare Amazing Dream.

In line with RQ’s focus on innovation, a ‘pick your own barrier’ element will be added to the existing preferential barrier draw for The Rising Sun, which is expected to add further intrigue to the race.

Under conditions of the race, RQ and Albion Park Club officials can issue up to two invites to four-year-old’s and two wild card invites to three-year-old’s, with the balance of the field made up from the nominations.

There is just one invite yet to be handed out for the second edition of the race.

Throughout the Constellations, more than $2.5 million in prize money and bonuses will go on the line, including 11 Group 1s.

Click here for more information on the 2022 TAB Queensland Constellations.

By Jordan Gerrans