The Freak from the Creek, Leap To Fame has secured the first spot in the $350,000 Group 1 The Rising Sun.
Connections of the four-time Group 1 champion accepted an invitation into Australasia’s three and four-year-old pacers championship, a key part of the $3 million Queensland Constellations.
One of the country’s most electric pacers had a massive 2022 season, which included an historic Queensland, NSW and Victoria Derby treble and ultimately led to him being crowned the Harness Racing Australia 3YO Pacing Colt/Gelding of the Year.
The now four-year-old has 16 wins and five placings from 22 career starts, earning more than $500,000 in prize money.
After a brave third in last year’s edition, owner Kevin Seymour said he’s looking forward to Leap To Fame having another crack at The Rising Sun in July.
“On behalf of myself and my wife Kay, we are delighted to be unveiled as the first invitee for Australia’s greatest three and four-year-old race,” Seymour said.
“We are under no illusions about our chances this year, with the competition to be fierce as ever as horses from across Australasia descend upon Albion Park.
“We look forward to the Queensland Constellations in what we hope will be a great win for a local champion on his home turf.”
Staged at The Creek on Saturday 8 July, The Rising Sun boasts prize money of $350,000, an increase of $50,000 from last year. The race also offers a $100,000 bonus for a three-year-old winner.
Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman Brad Stelle said added stakes and quality runners are the perfect ingredient for a stellar race.
“What a way to herald this year’s edition – confirming that the reigning Queensland Horse of the Year is good to go,” Mr Steele said.
“The Freak from the Creek is arguably the best pacer in the country and a huge draw card.
“He’s a real superstar and no stranger to the big stage, so locals will have plenty to cheer about.
“Leap To Fame’s early inclusion in The Rising Sun sets the bar for what will be a quality field and keenly contested race.“
In line with Racing Queensland’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 three invites to 4YOs and two wildcard invites to 3YOs, with the balance of the field made up from the nominations.
In addition, the winner of the $53,000 Listed Queensland Sun (July 1) – restricted to horses trained by Queensland trainers or trainers whose horses predominately race in Queensland – will also receive a start.
Throughout the Constellations, more than $3 million in prize money and bonuses will go on the line, including 8 Group 1s.
Click here for more information on the 2023 Queensland Constellations.