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Brilliant display by Sunlight in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic


Les Young | 17.01.2018

Trainer Tony McEvoy followed the program of last year’s winner Houtzen (I Am Invincible) in giving his filly Sunlight (Zoustar) track experience and a quick back up to take out last Saturday’s $2,000,000 Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m) at the Gold Coast.

Sunlight is as mentally tough as she is brilliant, surviving the early scrimmage which wiped out the wellfancied Jonker (Spirit Of Boom) to run past leader Ef Troop (Spirit Of Boom) in the straight and then be able to hold off the fast finishing Fullazaboot (Sepoy) to win by two lengths with Outback Barbie (Spirit of Boom) close up in third place ahead of the tiring Ef Troop. Race time was 1:09.17 with the final 600 metres run in 35.52.

Bred by Widden Stud Australia Pty. Ltd, Sunlight sold at last January’s Gold Coast yearling sale for $300,000 when purchased in partnership by Aquis Farm, McEvoy Mitchell Racing and Blue Sky Bloodstock, and as she races in the names of a group of female owners she not only picked up first prize money of $1,250,000 but also the special Racing Women bonus of $325,000, taking home a record amount for a Magic Millions winner.

Although sold before Sunlight’s victory on Saturday, her yearling sister made double her price when she went through the Gold Coast ring last Friday but the predictable buyer, Tony McEvoy, is not complaining at having to pay $600,000 for her, figuring she may have made another $200,000 had she been offered on the night of the race.

Sunlight’s record now reads three successive wins from four starts, her only defeat coming at her first start in early October when third in the VRC Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (Listed,1000m). The filly will now be aimed at the Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Rosehill on 24 March  and is likely to have one or two lead ups to fit her for the rich prize.

The success of Sunlight adds another proud chapter to the 151 year history of the Thompson family’s Widden Stud. Widden not only bred the Magic Millions’ winner but also stand her young sire Zoustar (Northern Meteor) under an unusual arrangement with Victoria’s Woodside Park Stud which calls for the stallion to stand alternate seasons at the two farms. Zoustar stood last season at Woodside Park at a fee of $44,000 (inc GST) so is expected to return to Widden for the 2018 season.

Sunlight, the early star of Zoustar’s first crop, has given the ultra handsome stallion a great start  to his breeding career following his relatively brief – nine starts over two seasons – racing career in which he won six races, two at Group One level, and he was runner-up at two years in the J J Atkins Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m).

Blessed with a superior turn of foot, Zoustar’s finest winning performances were in the Golden Rose Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) in which he defeated Dissident (Sebring) and in the Coolmore Stud Stakes (registered as Ascot Vale Stakes) (Gr 1, 1200m) down the straight at Flemington.

Zoustar seems poised to become a worthy replacement for his own sire, the prematurely deceased Northern Meteor (Encosta De Lago), another Coolmore Stud Stakes winner, who also stood at Widden and was Australia’s leading first season stallion in the 2012-13 season, leaving 24 stakes winners from only four seasons of service.

Sunlight’s dam, Solar Charged (Charge Forward), was bred and raced by longtime prominent Sydney owner/breeder Peter Horwitz who also bred and raced her dam Soul Singer (Danehill) and her second dam Aretha (Sir Dapper).

Solar Charged had her share of speed and class, winning the Kindergarten Stakes (Gr 3, 1100m) at two years and the MRC Thoroughbred Club Stakes (Gr 3, 1300m) as a spring three-year-old and additionally registered five placings in Group contests.

Sunlight is her fourth foal and third winner with another, Sheikha (Sebring), stakesplaced last season and still only a three-year-old. Solar Charged foaled a brother to Sheika last spring so expect to see him at the Gold Coast auction next January.

Solar Charged’s dam Soul Singer won in Sydney, all eight of her foals to race are winners, another being Causeway Queen (Giant’s Causeway), winner of the Tasmanian Oaks (Listed, 2100m) and the Strutt Stakes (Listed, 2100m) while Aretha, the next dam, was a Listed winner in Melbourne, and a placegetter in three other black type events before producing seven winners, notable among them stakes winner Sir Linford (Last Tycoon).

Sunlight possesses an attractive and interesting pedigree featuring a 4m x 3f double of Danehill (Danzig).

Other duplications present include three crosses of Northern Dancer (Nearctic), two crosses of champion sire Bletchingly (Biscay), a double of champion sire Wilkes (Court Martial) and a rare appearance of brilliant brothers Biscay (Star Kingdom) and Star Of Heaven (Star Kingdom).

Sunlight has little stamina to draw on from her pedigree so it is hard to predict how far she may run but against her own class she may get 1400 metres or as far as 1600 metres.


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