Capping a remarkable 2018 in which she shot to prominence by winning the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast, Sunlight scored a deserved win at racing’s elite level when she beat home Zousain and Lean Mean Machine.
In winning Sunlight sent her earnings past $3 million – a great return considering she cost $300,000 when sold through the Widden Stud draft to Aquis Farm, Tony McEvoy and Blue Sky Bloodstock at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
Sunlight sat outside the leader and reigning Blue Diamond Stakes winner Written By for much of the race before striking the front a furlong from home and then holding out a late challenge from the Chris Waller trained minor placegetters.
Trainer Tony McEvoy was proud of the performance of Sunlight following her luckless run against the older horses in last week’s Group One Manikato Stakes.
“It was a big call to take these colts on with this filly,” McEvoy said. “But I have such faith in her.”
“She was there for the fight today and those colts had their chance to get her. She’s a courageous superstar and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
“She didn’t get a lot of cover,” McEvoy added. “She was there in the breeze.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever ridden a winner on Derby Day,” jockey Luke Currie said. “So to do it in the Coolmore (Stud Stakes) is pretty exciting.”
“She stepped slow last start and just ended up in awkward spot. But she flew out today. I wasn’t sure if I would lead, or Written By would lead us.”
“She came back off him (Written By) nice and was on the buckle during the race and I knew she would be strong when I knew she hadn’t spent too much petrol getting to the 400 to 500,” Currie added.
Widden Stud’s Antony Thompson was beaming in the winner’s stall, having sold Sunlight as a yearling, but also with the achievement of Widden’s Zoustar to sire the trifecta.
“It’s a stunning achievement,” Thompson told Racing.com. “She’s such a special horse.”
“(Zoustar’s sire) Northern Meteor was so dear to us. We just had to have Zoustar and to see him trifecta this race, the race he won and it’s now four generations of wins (through Encosta de Lago, Northern Meteor, Zoustar and Sunlight) – it’s something very special.”
“It’s one of our greatest moments,” Thompson added. “For Zoustar to have three runners from his first crop in this race was incredible and then to trifecta it, is next level!”
“To Sheikh Fahad, to David Redvers, the guys who backed us in with Zoustar and who bred this filly with us, this one’s for you guys.”
Zoustar, the sire of Sunlight, Zousain and Lean Mean Machine, was sold at the Gold Coast Yearling Sale in 2012. Sunlight’s dam Solar Charged was purchased by Widden Stud and Qatar Bloodstock at the 2014 National Broodmare Sale with Zoustar in mind.
Solar Charged’s latest yearling, a Sebring colt, is being prepared by Widden Stud for the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
Breeding: Zoustar-Solar Charged (Charge Forward)
Race: VRC Coolmore Stud Stakes G1 (1200m)
Sold for: $300,000
Sale: 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale
Vendor: Widden Stud
Buyer: Aquis Farm/McEvoy Mitchell Racing/Blue Sky Bloodstock
Owner(s): Mrs L Fung, Ms RC Parker, Mrs IE Mitchell, Mrs KL Thompson, Mrs RJ Fletcher, Miss SR Fletcher, Miss JR Fletcher, Qatar Bloodstock (Mgr: D Redvers) & G1G Racing & Breeding (Mgr: Mrs TL Vogel)
Trainer: Tony McEvoy (Flemington)