BLUE SKY FLIES TO BLUE GRASS

Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Australia News

Blue Sky Bloodstock (FBAA) agent Julian Blaxland commenced the Melbourne Cup carnival with a Group 1 winner at Flemington last Saturday and he completed a week to remember buying a handful of broodmare prospects at the Keeneland November Sale.

Sunlight upstaged the colts in the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes on an unforgettable day for Aquis Farm owners Tony, Loretta and Justin Fung. They commissioned Blaxland to buy the Zoustar filly for $300,000 at the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Millions and the Coolmore prizemoney sent her earnings through $3 million.

 Julian Blaxland with partner Kacy Fogden and fellow Australian’s Adrian Hancock, Blake Shinn, Mill Park Stud’s Peter Watson and Craig Rounsfell in Lexington, Kentucky for the Keenenland Breeding Stock Sales in November.

Julian Blaxland with partner Kacy Fogden and fellow Australian’s Adrian Hancock, Blake Shinn, Mill Park Stud’s Peter Watson and Craig Rounsfell in Lexington, Kentucky for the Keenenland Breeding Stock Sales in November.

Sunlight defeated Zousain and Aquis Farm / Blue Sky graduate Lean Mean Machine. "It was a big call to take the colts but I've got such faith in her,” trainer Tony McEvoy said. "She's a superstar and was in for the fight today."

The Fung family also won the G1 Victoria Derby with Extra Brut, by Aquis Farm resident Domesday, and their filly Fundamentalist (Not A Single Doubt) finished third in the G1 Empire Rose Stakes.

Blaxland flew into Lexington on Monday and by Friday had purchased five mares at the Keeneland November Sale. "From a personal and professional point of view, it’s a wonderful sale catching up with old friends and keeping abreast with what is going on in the Northern Hemisphere. And, obviously, it’s a great opportunity to buy some quality outcross types for the Australian market.

"We've had a lot of success over the years here and not necessarily paying enormous money for stakes quality mares. The record of American mares when bred with Australian colonial sprinters, pound for pound, is as good as any imported mares into Australia in my opinion.”

“The size of the November Sale makes it great value,” Blaxland continued. "Our buys ranged from $70,000 to $185,000. It's a competitive market for stakes mares in Australia right now, or anywhere.

"Australian breeders can use agents like myself to try and source and find these mares that suit Australia. They will arrive in January and hopefully present good opportunities and good results for their breeders.

 Stakes Winning French Mare - STORMY VICTORIA, a Keeneland broodmare purchase by Blue Sky Bloodstock on behalf of John Muir’s Milburn Creek Stud.

Stakes Winning French Mare - STORMY VICTORIA, a Keeneland broodmare purchase by Blue Sky Bloodstock on behalf of John Muir’s Milburn Creek Stud.

Blaxland’s five buys at Keeneland in 2018 were:

Laney (USA) A first-crop daughter of G1 Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford (Forestry), she won at two and was stakes-placed at Churchill Downs (G2) and Lexington (G3). US$135k

Put Da Blame On Me (USA) Winner at two and stakes placed at Gulfstream Park. By Zenyatta’s conqueror Blame and her dam Roman Chestnut (Roman Ruler) was a LR Busher Stakes winner at Aqueduct. US$185k

Najavo Dreamer (Ire) By Aquis Farm shuttler Dream Ahead. Won and was stakes placed at Santa Anita. Half-sister to Hoh Buzzard (Alhaarth), a stakes winner in the UK (LR Salisbury Upavon Stakes) and USA (G2 Churchill Downs Mrs Revere Stakes). US$135k

Stormy Victoria (Fr) Grey mare by Stormy River (Verglas). Won 4 races in France and USA with a black-type strike in the LR South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park. She was also Group placed in New York and Canada. US$175k

Sky Flower (USA) A Kentucky stakes winner among 9 victories in 23 starts. By Flower Alley, sire of Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another, from Sapphire Sky (Sky Mesa), a stakes winner at Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga. US$70k

Sunlight triumphs over colts in Coolmore Stud Stakes

Ben Dorries - Racenet

Tony McEvoy said the colts chasing the mammoth stallion-making payday in the Group I Coolmore Stud Stakes had “no excuses” behind his star filly Sunlight.

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Last year’s Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Merchant Navy was sold for more than $30million and that sort of incredible cash could have been on offer if one of Chris Waller’s second and third placed colts Zousain or Lean Mean Machine won at Flemington on Saturday.

But it wasn’t to be as McEvoy’s exciting filly Sunlight was the party pooper and led home a trifecta of gallopers sired by Zoustar.

Sunlight ($5.50) initially sat outside Written By ($4.20) and then powered to the line, with last year’s Gold Coast Magic Millions winner making amends for her luckless seventh in the recent Group I Manikato Stakes.

Waller, who has won the race previously with Sunlight’s dad Zoustar in 2013 and also Brazen Beau and Japonisme in the following years, was left pondering what might have been for Zousain and Lean Mean Machine.

“Their day will come,” Waller declared.

But for McEvoy it was sweet vindication for tackling the Coolmore after the trainer was adamant the filly should have won the Manikato Stakes.

And he wasn’t hearing any excuses from the beaten brigade of colts.

“They all had their chance to beat her,” McEvoy insisted.

“Sunlight did it pretty much from the front in her normal manner. 

“She was very courageous and she is a star.

“I understand the measure of what this race can do for a colt, I certainly get it, but when you have got a filly like this why not have a crack?

“It just showed if she had the luck last week she would have won the Manikato.”

Sunlight became the first filly since Nechita in 2012 to win the Coolmore and in the process gave jockey Luke Curriean exhilarating career high.

“I’ve been riding for nearly 25 years and I've never got anywhere near riding a Group I on Derby day before this,” Currie said.

In the washup, Sunlight kept Zousain  ($3.40 fav) at bay by a half neck with another length back to Lean Mean Machine ($10) in third.

Sunlight’s win continued the proud Zoustar tradition in the Coolmore.

Zoustar won the race himself in 2013 and his father, Northern Meteor, won it in 2008.

Northern Meteor’s sire was breed-shaping stallion Encosta De Lago, who won the then Ascot Vale Stakes in 1996.

Sunlight was $300,000 yearling purchase for Blue Sky Bloodstock, McEvoy Mitchell Racing & Aquis Farm at the 2018 Magic Millions Yearling Sale from Widden Stud.

Crowning Performance is Right Response

Greg Tobin - Aushorse

It’s somewhat fitting that the final Group One race of the 2017/18 season – Saturday’s $500,000 Sky Racing Tatt’s Tiara over 1350m at Doomben – should also be one of the strongest.

Among the 16 mares lining up for the Tiara were Super Cash and Champagne Cuddles, second and third respectively in the Stradbroke two weeks earlier, Miss Wilson, Invincibella and Savanna Amour – stakes winners at their most recent outings – plus March’s Group One Coolmore Classic victor Daysee Doom.

However, it would be the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott trained Prompt Response who would be sent out favourite for the race at $4.20. And deservedly so.

The 4YO mare is a three time Group Two winner – the Emancipation, Breeders Classic and Dane Ripper – along with the Listed Twilight Glow in Melbourne, but had twice been edged out at Group One level, including a neck second to Tycoon Tara in last year’s Tiara.

Prompt Response wasn’t to be denied this time around though, opening up a break with 250m to go and holding on strongly to win with over a length to spare.

The victory took Prompt Response’s tally to six wins and 11 placings from 27 starts for $1,481,350 in stakes. Indeed, only one of her outings – her maiden win in April 2016 – wasn’t at black type level.

The stage now appears to be set for Prompt Reponse to campaign for the $13 million The Everest in October.

The Tiara win also continues a remarkable season for Julian Blaxland’s Blue Sky Bloodstock, whose success stories in 2018, apart from Prompt Response, include Group Two Sires’ Produce Stakes winner Lean Mean Machine and dual Doomben stakes winner Whypeeo - while Magic Millions 2YO Classic/Silver Slipper winner and Golden Slipper third, Sunlight, is likewise a Blue Sky yearling buy (purchased for $300,000 with Tony McEvoy on behalf of Aquis Farm).

“It’s been a terrific season for our 2YOs – 13 individual winners so far which equals last year’s benchmark – but Prompt Response’s Tiara is really special,” Blaxland points out.

“Ron Hamer, who bred Prompt Response, was my very first client when Blue Sky started back in 2006 and I ended up buying Prompt Response’s dam, Prompt, for $45,000 on Ron’s behalf at the 2011 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

“Her first foal for Ron was a Statue of Liberty that raced in Hong Kong and won six races, while her second, Prompt Return, was a colt by Beneteau and the full brother to Prompt Response.

“Blue Sky was a part-owner of (2YO Group winner) Beneteau, as was Ron, and he’d actually purchased Prompt to send to the stallion. Unfortunately, Beneteau only stood the two seasons, but his two matings with Prompt produced a (Group Three) Maribyrnong Plate winner (Prompt Return) and now a Group One winner.

“Prompt was later sold privately to Newgate Farm, but full marks to Ron who has bred from just two mares. He was also a part-owner of, and raced, Diana’s Secret, which, like Sunlight, we also bought as a yearling from Widden Stud. Diana’s Secret would go to produce 5-time Group One winner, Dissident, which Ron had kept a 10% share in after the horse was sold to Peter Moody for $210,000 at the Gold Coast Magic Millions.

“Incredible … from two mares he’s bred and raced a Horse of the Year in Dissident and a Group One winner in Prompt Response.

“What’s more, She’s Meaner – the dam of Lean Mean Machine – was purchased by Blue Sky as a yearling and Ron was in both She’s Meaner (a 2YO stakes winner) and Lean Mean Machine!”

Prompt, meanwhile, had a yearling colt by Dissident sell to George Moore Bloodstock for $525,000 at the 2018 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale and is currently in foal to Capitalist.

 Jockey Blake Shinn with trainer Adrian Bott post race following Prompt Responses' dominant win in the Group 1 Tatts Tiara at Doomben

Jockey Blake Shinn with trainer Adrian Bott post race following Prompt Responses' dominant win in the Group 1 Tatts Tiara at Doomben

Superb June For Blue Sky Bloodstock Runners

Blue Sky Bloodstock runners enjoyed a massive run of success this past June with no less than 9 individual winners of 11 races, highlighted by PROMPT RESPONSE winning the Group 1 Tatts Tiara and LEAN MEAN MACHINE taking out the Group 2 Sires Produce Stakes during the Brisbane Winter Carnival. 

Blue Sky juveniles continued to perform brilliantly with 3 winners (EMBRACE ME, ROMANTIC BONANZA (HK) and JENKINS) all scoring wins, taking Blue Sky to 13 individual 2yo winners in 2017/18 of some 20 races, highlighted by star Magic Millions Classic winner SUNLIGHT and exciting ZOUSTAR colt LEAN MEAN MACHINE. 

Our results reflect the continued support of our valued clients at the yearling sales and we look forward to seeing many of these runners in the spring, summer and autumn carnivals of next season. 

 Overdue! Star Blue Sky mare PROMPT REPONSE finally gets her Group 1 for Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, taking out the Group 1 Tatts Tiara during the Brisbane Winter Carnival

Overdue! Star Blue Sky mare PROMPT REPONSE finally gets her Group 1 for Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, taking out the Group 1 Tatts Tiara during the Brisbane Winter Carnival

Blue Sky Success in April

Blue Sky Bloodstock purchased runners have continued their stellar season, with no fewer than three Stakes-winners and another three Stakes-placings in April, including an exciting Stakes-winner at Woodbine (CAN) who won convincingly, only to lose the race on protest. Congratulations to all connections!

 Multiple Group 2 winner Prompt Response pictured winning the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m)

Multiple Group 2 winner Prompt Response pictured winning the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m)

It has been a busy few weeks for the Blue Sky team with the culmination of the Inglis Easter sales set amongst three weeks of great racing at Randwick, including 'The Championships'.

Blue Sky continued their role as resident bloodstock agency for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott this year and have been  particularly active at all major yearling sales in 2018. 

Julian believes it is the most exciting spread of yearlings that the stable has invested in and early reports from the breakers at Evergreen Farm have been very positive. 

Julian commented, "I am extremely proud of the of the group of babies we have purchased on behalf of Gai and Adrian and their clients will be very excited about what's on offer. There is a price point for everyone, different types to suit different races, including a number of all ladies syndicates. The way the stable is consistently producing winners and stakes horses at present across all states, I'm very excited about what the next 12 months has in store."

In total, Blue Sky were responsible for the selections and purchase of 108 yearlings between GWABR and private clients. Here is a breakdown of the 38 Sires whose progeny were selected across all sales, purchases ranged from $35k to $1.2M.

  • Animal Kingdom - 1
  • Artie Schiller 2
  • Bel Esprit - 1
  • Charge Forward - 3
  • Choisir - 1
  • Dawn Approach - 3
  • Deep Field - 6
  • Dissident - 3
  • Eurozone - 2
  • Exceed and Excel - 1
  • Fastnet Rock - 2
  • Foxwedge - 1
  • Hinchinbrook - 5
  • Holy Roman Emperor - 3
  • Husson - 1
  • I Am Invincible - 13
  • Manhattan Rain - 1
  • Medaglia d'Oro - 1
  • More Than Ready - 6
  • Not a Single Doubt - 3
  • Olympic Glory - 3
  • Pierro - 8
  • Proisir - 2
  • Real Saga - 1
  • Redoute's Choice - 4
  • Rubick - 1
  • Sebring - 2
  • Sepoy - 1
  • Shooting To Win - 1
  • Snitzel - 5
  • So You Think - 2
  • Spirit of Boom - 8
  • Street Boss - 1
  • Trusting - 1
  • Wandjina - 1
  • Written Tycoon - 3
  • Zebedee - 4
  • Zoustar - 1

Blue Sky Bloodstock are delighted that it's been their long serving clients who have been the main benefactors of this hot-streak of Stake successes – and long may it continue given their steadfast support.

April's Stakes Action:

Lean Mean Machine: 3rd Gr.3 Kindergarten Stakes

Fundamentalist: Won Listed SAJC Dequeteville Stakes and 2nd in Group 3 SAJC Breeders Stakes

Prompt Response: 2nd ATC Group 1 Coolmore Legacy

Whypeeo: Won Listed BRC Mick Pittman Plate

Runaway: WonListed VRC St Ledger

Machtree: 3rd Listed Wando Stakes(Woodbine, CAN)

There will be no slowing down in May. This Saturday Blue Sky Bloodstock will be represented by four runners at the Gold Coast's feature stand alone metro meeting featuring:

Whypeeo (I Am Invincible) – Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas

Lean Mean Machine (Zoustar) and Royal Hale (Snitzel)– Group 3 Ken Russell Classic

Prompt Return (Beneteau) – Looking to go back to back in the Bat Out of Hell over 900m.

PROMPT RETURN, (a $60,000 MM Premier Sale purchase), was reinvigorated over the shorter courses since moving to Queensland after winning the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate as a juvenile. He'll be joined by full sister PROMPT RESPONSE in Qld with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott for the Group 2 Dane Ripper and Group 1 Tatts Tiara Stakes deeper into the Brisbane Winter Carnival. The mare enjoyed a stellar Sydney Autumn, winning the Group 2 Breeders Stakes, Group 2 Emancipation Stakes and looked the winner in the Group 1 Coolmore Legacy until caught late by star filly Alizee to finish yet another 2nd at Group 1 level.

 Sunlight, pictured winning the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m)

Sunlight, pictured winning the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m)

Blue Sky 2yo's have enjoyed a particularly strong year, the obvious highlight being Magic Millions Classic and Group 2 Silver Slipper winner SUNLIGHT (MM Premier 2017 purchase by Zoustar/Solar Charged) leading a group of no less than 9 individual juvenile winners of some 15 races in 2017/18 to date. The team hope to bring up double figures this week with an eye to USMANOV (MM Premier 2017 purchase by Choisir/Mining Tycoon) at Toowoomba for Toby Edmonds and EMBRACE ME (Melbourne Premier purchase by Shamexpress/Party Royal).

Our focus will then shift to the Magic Millions Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast where we will be offering our first select draft in the Blue Sky Premium Consignment. Limited to Stakes fillies off-the-track, the inaugural draft includes the likes of Group 2 Placed My True Love, Group 1 placed Joyfilly Ours and million-dollar earner, Group 3 winner Madotti . These fillies will be marketed strongly to the domestic and international buying bench and we are excited about driving strong returns for our clients.

If anyone has interest in expanding their level of ownership or simply seeking guidance on purchasing their first horse, please don't hesitate to get in touch with either Julian or Tom for a chat. To discuss or inspect any of these yearling purchases, please call or drop us an email on julian@blueskybloodstock.com.au or tom@blueskybloodstock.com.au

WHYPEEO CLAIMS MICK DITTMAN PLATE

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Whypeeo defied wet tracks fears to stamp himself a genuine Brisbane winter carnival contender with a dominant win in the Listed Mick Dittman Plate at Doomben on Saturday.

Whypeeo, ridden by premier jockey Jeff Lloyd, led all the way to down Meikas by four lengths with Godolphin’s Marble in third place, a further three-quarters of a length away.

Winning trainer Toby Edmonds admitted his biggest fear with Whypeeo was how the three-year-old would handle a heavy track after it was downgraded from a slow 7 following early showers during the meeting.

Prior to claiming his second Listed race win, Whypeeo had never raced on a rain-affected track with all four previous wins in eight starts coming on dry surfaces.

Whypeeo will now chase bigger winter riches and will likely have his next start in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) on May 5.

Whypeeo was having his first start since a fading fourth in the Magic Millions Guineas at the Gold Coast in January but was primed for a first-up win following an easy barrier trial win on his home track.

Edmonds admitted he was relieved with how Whypeeo coped with the conditions.

“It’s a big relief as I wasn’t sure how he’d handle the wet as I rate him better on top of the ground,” Edmonds said.

“He’ll probably go the Gold Coast Guineas next and I’ll see how he’s going at the time whether to push on to the bigger races like the 10,000 and Stradbroke.”

21 APRIL 2018

By Glenn Davis

Zoustar's Sunlight Runs Down Estijaab in a Thriller

In what may well have been a preview of the Golden Slipper, the top-class fillies Sunlight and Estijaab staged a two-horse war in Saturday's $250,000 Group II Silver Slipper Stakes at Rosehill Gardens.

On the line it was the Zoustar filly Sunlight who made it four wins on the trot when finishing the best to edge a game Estijaab (Snitzel) by a neck with Gongs (Dawn Approach) six and three-quarter lengths back in third. (photo Magic Millions - Lisa Grimm). 

Sunlight Silver Slipper 3.jpg

The complexation of the race changed when Brenton Avdulla took hold of the pacesetting Estijaab, which had Neutrality over-racing forcing Blake Shinn to let the son of Sebring take on Estijaab for the lead.

Meanwhile, Tim Clark was smoking his pipe in third place on Sunlight.

When Estijaab turned back the challenge of Neutrality, Clark made his move on Sunlight.

The Magic Millions 2yo Classic heroine loomed alongside Estijaab who was not going down without a fight.

Sunlight Silver Slipper 1.jpg

"That was incredible wasn't it," McEvoy's assistant trainer, son Calvin said.

"I think we learned something new about her today when those other two (Estijaab and Neutrality) decided to go out in front.

"Tim just asked her to come back and she did, she just raced like a true professional.

"She's going to have another run into the Slipper but she's such a good doing filly and that was all class there.

"She was forward enough, we knew she would run well but we know there's further improvement.

"If she comes through this well she'll run in the Magic Night, a week out from the Slipper.

"Follow the same path we did into the Magic Millions, she's effective of the seven-day back-up and see how we go."

A $300,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Widden Stud draft for Aquis/McEvoy Mitchell Racing/Blue Sky Bloodstock, Sunlight advances her overall record to 4 wins and 1 third from 5 starts with earnings of $1,441,450.

Bred by Widden Stud in partnership, Sunlight is a half-sister to Group III placed Sheikha and is the third winner from former speedy filly Solar Charged, winner of the Group III ATC Kindergarten Stakes at her second start.

Sunlight Silver Slipper 4.jpg

News from Breednet, Images from Magic Millions/Lisa Grim

Third Stakes Win for Beneteau's Prompt Response

The thoroughly game Prompt Response rounded out last season with a second to Tycoon Tara in the Group 1 Tatt's Tiara at Doomben and she will be on the chase for a win at the highest level this autumn following an impressive return to racing in Saturday's Group II Breeders' Classic (1200m) at Warwick Farm.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained daughter of Beneteau came clear in the final stages to defeat the favourite Egyptian Symbol (Stratum) by one and a half-lengths with a short neck back to the Kris Lees-trained Danish Twist (Dane Shadow) in third. (photo Steve Hart )

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Fourth in the Group 1 Myer Stakes at Flemington and fourth in the Group II Matriarch Stakes on the same track at the Melbourne Spring Carnival, Prompt Response earned a third stakes win in the Breeders' Classic advancing her record to 4 wins and 8 seconds from 21 starts with earnings of $806,650.

"She's been so consistent throughout her career so very thankful to see her do that today, more so for the owners because they've been very patient with her," Bott said.

"But today she's come back with an explosive win and put the writing on the wall of what's to come this preparation.

"It was a very strong run race so the way the race panned out played into her hands – she was able to get a lovely cart into the race."

Bott said Prompt Response would be aimed races like the Coolmore Classic (1500m) and Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) this autumn.

A sister to 2014 Group III VRC Maribyrnong Plate winner Prompt Return, Prompt Response is the fourth foal of the Exceed And Excel mare Prompt whose first two foals are the stakes-placed Diamond Glow (Bel Esprit) and the Hong Kong winner Mr Right (Statue Of Liberty).

Though she failed to place in three starts, Prompt is a daughter of the Desert Sun mare Amnesia a 5-time winner who placed in nine stakes races.

After slipping in 2014 and 2015, Prompt has a yearling colt by Horse Of The Year Dissident that was purchased by George Moore Bloodstock for $525,000 out of the Newgate Farm draft at the recent Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.

Prompt has a colt foal by Medaglia D'Oro (USA) and was bred back to Capitalist at Newgate Farm last spring.

News from Breednet

Group 2 Breeders Classic For Blue Sky's Prompt Response

Enjoyng her first win fresh from six attempts, the Beneteau four-year-old was too strong for her seven rivals in this year’s Group 2 $200,000 Breeders Classic (1200m).

Last seen finishing off her spring in Melbourne with back-to-back Flemington fourths on successive Saturdays during the Cup Carnival, Prompt Response made her autumn return after two Randwick trials.

She was given a gun ride by jockey Blake Shinn from the good gate two draw, getting a beautiful run in third stalking the front-runners Memes and Bonny O’Reilly.

Prompt Response Breeders Classic 1.jpg

Approaching the turn, rival hoop Jason Collett was on the move aboard race favourite Egyptian Symbol who started to loop the field looking to go one better than her second in the same race at Randwick 12 months ago.

With 200m left to travel Prompt Response hit the lead and despite giving the fitness edge away, held off the beaten Bjorn Baker-trained favourite Egyptian Symbol, who loomed but was never getting near the impressive winner, by one and a half lengths.

In third rounding out the Breeders Classic trifecta was the Kris Lees-trained Dane Shadow six-year-old Danish Twist who powered home late from the back in her first run of the autumn.

“It’s a great way to reward the mare, she’s been so consistent over her career,” co-trainer Bott said post-win.

“There’s been a few frustrating runs of placings but today she’s come back with an explosive win.

“We’ve got a nice Group 1 preparation planned.

“A race like the Coolmore [Classic] would be perfect for her getting out to the 1500m and maybe into the Queen Of the Turf at the end of the carnival.”

Prompt Response Breeders Classic 8.jpg

The Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) runs at Rosehill Gardens on March 17, while the Group 1 $1 million Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) takes place over the Royal Randwick mile on April 14 as part of ‘The Championships’ Day 2.

A special congratulations to loyal Blue Sky Bloodstock owners Mark Sowerby and Ron Hamer on the exciting victory of their mare.

McEvoy decides Slipper favourite needs two runs into sprint

Tony McEvoy has decided to give his star filly Sunlight two runs going into the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes.

McEvoy had originally planned to give the $6 Golden Slipper favourite just the one run into that race after her easy win in the Magic Millions Classic.

Sunlight image.jpg

“I think she needs two runs into the Slipper even with what she’s done so far,” McEvoy said.

McEvoy said Sunlight would run in the Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) on February 24 and then the Magic Night Stakes (1200m) the week before the Golden Slipper Stakes on March 25 with all races at Rosehill.

He said she had spent a couple of weeks at their farm at Murbko on the Murray River where she was knee deep in lucerne.

McEvoy said Sunlight was now back in work at his training property at Angaston where “she looked super”.

Success For Siege First Up

Expensive colt Siege Of Quebec has wound up late to win at Rosehill to record his third win from just his first four starts.

The raging $1.50 favourite in Saturday’s Wilkes Quality (1100m) seemingly took an age to reach Kennedy ($6) but both his co-trainer Adrian Bott and jockey Brenton Avdulla said his casual attitude was mostly to blame.

He also lost two racing plates but that did not seem to bother him.

“He always gives you heartache in his races. He is very laid back,” Bott said.

Avdulla said Siege Of Quebec’s long neck margin was still decisive.

“He never wins by big margins,” he said.

“He pulled two plates off as well but he is very casual.”

Bott said he and training partner Gai Waterhouse were planning a campaign aimed at the Eskimo Prince, Hobartville Stakes and Group One Randwick Guineas on March 10.

“After the Guineas we might then look at weight-for-age,” he said.

By Fastnet Rock out of Rose Of Cimarron, Siege Of Quebec was a $1.2 million yearling and was purchased from the 2016 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale by Coolmore's Tom Magnier, Gai Waterhouse Racing, Nordic Racing and Breeding and Blue Sky Bloodstock's Julian Blaxland from the draft of Newgate Farm.

Siege Of Quebec parade.jpg

Bott bullish about Siege Of Quebec’s autumn campaign

Adrian Bott insists punters only saw a glimpse of what’s to come from Siege Of Quebec as the decision to miss most of the spring with the three-year-old is set to pay off this autumn.

Bott and co-trainer Gai Waterhouse called stumps on Siege Of Quebec’s last campaign after he finished second to Menari in the Listed Rosebud (1100m) in August, more than a month before the Golden Rose.

The temptation would have been there to extend his campaign but Bott is hoping the patient approach will pay off this autumn for the $1.2 million yearling purchase.

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“He is a really exciting colt for us going forward and I think we got a glimpse of his potential ability in his first preparation,” he said.

“His first two runs were really good and then I thought it was an excellent performance when he was dropping back in distance and up in grade in the Rosebud behind Menari.

“We were always of the opinion he would make a better three-year-old autumn type and he looks to have come back in great order as we’ve seen in both of his trials.”

Siege Of Quebec will start his autumn campaign in Wilkes Quality at Rosehill on Saturday. Picture: Simon BullardSource:News Corp Australia

Siege Of Quebec was always a good-looking colt but Bott said he has benefited from going out into the paddock after his last preparation feeling well.

“He had plenty of racing and it was certainly a big effort in the Rosebud so we didn’t want to go to the well one too many times with him because of the quality with him going forward,” he said.

“We took the view of giving him a good spell and having him really ready for this campaign. He went out in good order, which always helps, and he was able to really benefit from that as opposed to going out flat with one too many runs.

“He had a really decent spell and strengthened up nicely and he has come back in great shape.”

Asked how punters should assess him first-up, Bott expects the odds-on favourite to run very well in the Wilkes Quality (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

“He is obviously going to be much better suited and better placed once he steps up over further in his campaign and I think he will make a top class 1400m-1600m colt in time, which we have aimed for him later on,” he said. “But he is at a point in his preparation where he is still showing plenty of speed and it looks a nice race for him to kick off his campaign.”

Bott said autumn plans were yet to be locked in for Siege Of Quebec but the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 10 is a likely goal.

“He will definitely have his first few runs up here in Sydney and then I guess that program leads to the Randwick Guineas but we will also keep the Australian Guineas open as an option for him,” he said. “We won’t close the door on that yet but we are probably leaning towards keeping him in Sydney.”

Copy: Brad Davidson, Daily Telegraph

Ladies Day In The Sun … The Magic Of Racehorse Ownership

Racetrack success can be measured in many ways. Times. Margins. Group victories. Prizemoney.

But then there is the intangible. The sheer emotion – the thrill – of owning the winner of a $2 million race.

Few get to experience it, but therein is the allure. The Grail trail.

Katie Thompson and her fellow, female owners of Sunlight certainly got to experience it on Saturday when their filly captured the Magic Millions 2YO Classic over 1200m on the Gold Coast.

Despite the hot sun – literally and figuratively – thousands had packed into the Gold Coast racecourse, with many, many thousands more watching (enviously) on telly.

Leading into Saturday’s race, Sunlight had won two of three outings: finishing third on debut in the Listed Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington in October before resuming on the Gold Coast in December with a five length scamper over 900m and, in an ideal leadup, was equally dominant over 1100m there on 6 January. Both Gold Coast wins were class records.

Sure, barrier 12 for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic might not have been the best of draws, but Sunlight was still sent out a marginal favourite ahead of the (previously) unbeaten pair of Ef Troop and Jonker.

Although Ef Troop was the tearaway leader from the jump, Sunlight loomed shortly after turning for home and, in a matter of strides, it was all over bar the shouting. And shout they did.

Sunlight MM 1.jpg

What a tremendous advertisement for racehorse ownership this is. Katie Page, wife of Magic Millions principal, Gerry Harvey, initiated a bonus in 2012 whereby connections of the first four ‘all female owned or leased horses’ past the post in the 2YO Classic would receive a share of $500,000 … $325,000 for first.

It has inspired the formation of a large number of female owned horses: most notably the dual Group One winner, Global Glamour (by Star Witness), that is raced by 40 women from seven countries.

And it inspired Katie Thompson too, although it could be said she has a closer connection to Sunlight than most.

Wife of Widden Stud’s owner, Antony Thompson, Katie has been associated with Sunlight from early days, as the filly – a daughter of Widden’s resident stallion, Zoustar – was foaled down at their property.

“I didn’t have a great deal to do with Sunlight before she was prepped for the (2017) Gold Coast Magic Millions, but she was always a lovely type and had this real attitude about her,” Thompson reveals. “She can get a bit feisty alright.

“After Tony (McEvoy) purchased her for $300,000 with Blue Sky Bloodstock's Julian Blaxland and Aquis Farm, a few of us decided to keep a share. We’ve long had a close association with Sheikh Fahad Al Thani and Qatar Racing, co-breeders of Sunlight, so his assistant racing manager, Hannah Wall, is a shareholder: in fact, Antony and Sheikh Fahad’s bloodstock manager, David Redvers, purchased Sunlight’s dam, Solar Charged, from the 2014 Magic Millions Broodmare Sale.

“Another co-breeder in Dan Fletcher is from Emerald in Queensland and has been a very good client of Widden’s over the years, so he put in his wife and daughter, while Tony Fung’s wife, Loretta, is a shareholder as well, along with a couple of Tony McEvoy’s clients.

“It’s a nice, little group and been a great ride so far.”

Definitely a day Thompson won’t forget in a hurry …

“It was one of those times when you wish the day was 12 hours longer,” Thompson points out. “After the races, Widden sold a Snitzel filly for $1.1 million, capping off a brilliant week.”

Two days prior to the big race, McEvoy had purchased the full sister to Sunlight from Widden for $600,000 and Thompson explains that the same ownership group will race this youngster too.

“She (the yearling) is very much in the mould of her big sister,” Thompson adds. “Similar conformation and the same kind of attitude. Hopefully lightning can strike twice.”

Sunlight will now seek to emulate 2016 Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner, Capitalist, who went on to capture the $3.5 million Golden Slipper, but will first have a few more “swims” in Queensland before heading for a short break in the paddock.

Win, lose or draw come Slipper day, Sunlight has proven to be a tremendous launching pad for her sire, Zoustar, according to Thompson: “To win a race of this stature with your first crop is amazing … we were confident the Zoustars would develop into really nice 3YOs but to get such a good winner this early from only a handful of runners … well, that’s pretty special.

“Hopefully he can emulate his sire (Northern Meteor) and grandsire (Encosta de Lago) by becoming Champion Australian First Season Sire.”

News From Aushorse

Sunlight Cruises To Massive Payday in Millions Classic

Brilliant filly Sunlight (Zoustar-Solar Charged) overcame some early interference to post a dazzling win for Tony McEvoy and Luke Currie in Saturday’s $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast.

Sunlight MM 1.jpg

Three of the favoured runners – Sunlight and undefeated colts Ef Troop and Jonker  - were involved in the incident about 200m after the start but it was the Victorian filly the stood up best, powering away to score by two lengths over Stuart Kendrick’s 100-1 outsider Fullasaboot (Sepoy-Fullazz).

 Tom Seymour & Julian Blaxland

Tom Seymour & Julian Blaxland

McEvoy said the decision to campaign Sunlight in Queensland – the filly won two races on the Gold Coast after a debut defeat at Flemington in November – was the hallmark of Saturday’s victory.

The veteran horseman, who combined with Aquis Farm and Julian Blaxland's Blue Sky Bloodstock to purchase Sunlight for $300,000 at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, parted with $600,000 to secure her full sister at the sale on Friday.

“It’s a big thrill and it’s brilliant for our brand, what a great filly,” McEvoy said.

“The key was getting her here when we did, she’s been able to acclimatise and handle the heat really well.

“Having the preparation where she ran up here last week, when the high pressure was on today she lifted late.

The win was bolstered by the fact Sunlight is owned entirely by female connections, who secured an additional $325,000 as part of the Magic Millions’ Racing Women promotion.

 Trainer Tony McEvoy and jockey Luke Currie

Trainer Tony McEvoy and jockey Luke Currie

 Julian Blaxland & Aquis Farm's Kacy Fogden

Julian Blaxland & Aquis Farm's Kacy Fogden

It was the third time the winner of the 2YO Classic picked up the Racing Women bonus with this year's $1.525 million winners’ cheque the biggest in the 32 year history of the Magic Million 2YO Classic.


The victory gave Currie another feature scalp for McEvoy – the pair boasts a 15% winning strike rate over the past two racing seasons – and the Group 1-winning jockey again praised the stable’s preparation of the filly.

“She came here with the weight of expectation today and she’s proved all of her fans right,” Currie said.

“She’s been expertly trained by Tony to bring her up here early and give her those couple of runs.

“I learned a lot getting beat on her in her first start, probably more than what I have in her past two wins.

“I rode her down the straight and held her up a bit and I just think she’s too brilliant for that and she’s proven that in her last couple.”

 Sunlight pictured as a yearling in the Widden Stud draft

Sunlight pictured as a yearling in the Widden Stud draft

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