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 )


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.


“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

New from Magic Millions      

Blue Sky Bloodstock Active On Day 1 Of Magic Millions

Kicking off early in the day with Lot 28, the Manhattan Rain colt was secured from the draft of Fairhill Farm (As agent). Purchased in conjunction with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, the colt is out of a Danasinga half-sister to Pottinger and comes from the family of Group 1 winner Sky Cuddle.

 Lot 28: Manhattan Rain x Le Clercq  colt

Lot 28: Manhattan Rain x Le Clercq  colt

Twenty lots later the team was back in action with Glastonbury Farms (as agent)’s Lot 48, the exciting More Than Ready colt out of the Bel Danoro mare Ma Joie, from the family known all too well to Waterhouse as Sunday Joy and More Joyous are in the family, as is another Group 1 winner trained by the stable in the All Aged Stakes winner Arlington Road.

From the draft of Musk Creek, the very vendor that Waterhouse purchased Pierro from, Blue Sky Bloodstock and the Waterhouse/Bott team secured a Lot 58, a colt by Hinchinbrook.

From a family know all too well to her trainer, this colt is out of a half-sister to the dam of Group 3 winner Sweet Redemption, and is also grandson of the Group 1 Flight Stakes winner Danglissa, both trainer by Waterhouse.

 Lot 58: Hinchinbrook x Maglissa colt

Lot 58: Hinchinbrook x Maglissa colt

Everybody loves a grey, and Lot 102 fitted that bill. Purchased in conjunction with the Waterhouse and Bott training partnership as well as Andrew Williams Bloodstock, the Newhaven Park secured filly is by Champion Sire More Than Ready out of the Intikhab mare Moone's My Name, a Listed-winning, Group 3 placed half-sister to Listed winner Baby Strange.

 Lot 102: More Than Ready x Moone's My Name filly

Lot 102: More Than Ready x Moone's My Name filly

No Evidence Needed was a tough and consistent Group 2-winning, Group 1 placed daughter of Shamardal and her Sniztel colt from the draft of Baramul Stud who sold as Lot 133 was a must have for the buying partnership.

By a Champion Sire out of a Group 1-winning mare who has already produced a stakes performer, Lot 172 from the draft of Coolmore was one the partnership was not going to let slip through.

The imposing colt by Fastnet Rock is out of the Group 1 Tatt’s Tiara winner Pear Tart, and her first foal, a full-sister to this colt is he Group 2 performed Italia Bella. It is also the family of I Am Invinvible’s Group 1 winner I Am A Star and Dubawi’s Champion Erupt.

 Lot 172: Fastnet Rock x Pear Tart colt

Lot 172: Fastnet Rock x Pear Tart colt

A few lots later Lot 178, a New Zealand bred colt by Holy Roman Emperor out of the Encosta de Lago mare Phocis was secure for a Blue Sky Bloodstock client. From the family of Group 1 winner Just Momente and Vancouver, the well-related colt comes from an exciting speed family.

 Lot 178: Holy Roman Emperor x Phocis colt

Lot 178: Holy Roman Emperor x Phocis colt

The final purchase of the day came towards the end of the session when Waterhouse and Bott teamed up once again with Blue Sky Bloodstock for Lot 237, the I Am Invincible colt out of the stakes winner Rich Megadale.

Lot 237 - BSB.jpg

Secured for the 2018 Blue Sky Bloodstock Colt Club, the colt is the first purchase for the club, but wont be the last, with another nine colts to be purchased throughout the yearling sale season.

Stay tuned for more purchases on Thursday from the Blue Sky Bloodstock team, and if you have any questions on any of the yearlings purchased, please click HERE for out Contacts.

Watch a review of day 1 of the Magic Millions Yearling Sale by Blue Sky Bloodsotck's Julian Blaxland and Tom Seymour below.



Sunlight First, Daylight Second!

Northern Meteor's champion son Zoustar is the sire of exciting filly Sunlight, who blitzed her rivals to win in scintillating time at the Gold Coast on Saturday in a stunning dress rehearsal for the $2million Magic Millions 2YO Classic next week.

Sunline GC2.png

Stakes-placed at Flemington at her only start in the spring, the Tony McEvoy trained filly won easily at the Gold Coast before Christmas over 900 metres and looked every inch a top class juvenile when winning the $60,000 Follow @aquisfarm On Twitter over 1100 metres.

She led for Luke Currie with the Waterhouse and Bott trained runner Terminology in close attendance, but with a furlong to run was in a class of her own.

Sunlight (image Magic Millions) zipped away to win by four and a half lengths under her own steam running the trip in 1:02.48, which was more than a second and a half quicker than Houtzen did when winning the same race last year.

Sunlight yearling.jpg

Houtzen backed up seven days later to win the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and connections will be hoping to see Sunlight do the same.

"That was an easy one to watch," said Tony McEvoy.

"She's a high class filly. It will be interesting to see how she's handled that, but I think this race will really bring her on.

"I wanted her to feel like a local. Now she's had two good looks at the track and she's ready."

A $300,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Widden Stud draft for Aquis/McEvoy Mitchell Racing/Blue Sky Bloodstock, Sunlight runs for a ladies syndicate headed by Mrs Fung and has now won $92,200.

"She's feisty like all the good girls," revealed Tony McEvoy.

"She likes her own space and will bare her teeth at you, but once she lets you in, she's kind and honest, a lovely filly."

Sunlight is poised to give the 'boom' colts Ef Troop and Jonker a good run for their money with first season sires Spirit of Boom and Zoustar accounting for the three standout favourites this year.

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.

Magic Millions Run Continues With Whiskey Shooter

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott stable unleashed an interesting two year-old debut winner at Canterbury on Friday evening with a fast finishing victory for Sebring filly Whiskey Shooter.

Lot 382 Sebring x Rocha filly.jpg

Easy in the market and one of the smallest fillies in the field, Whiskey Shooter proved herself to be all racehorse when she stumbled leaving the gates, but recovered to score a stylish win.

She was tenacious in the run to the line for Tim Clark, catching race favourite Misteed to win the 1100 metre maiden by a head.

Whiskey Shooter Jan 5.png

"What a terrific job she's done," said stable representative Neil Paine.

"She's not very big and has plenty of growing to do.

"Gai and Adrian were happy with her last trial and thought she was ready to go to the races and they were right."

A $180,000 Magic Millions purchase for her trainers and Blue Sky Bloodstock from the Coolmore draft, Whiskey Shooter is the third winner for Group II winning Encosta de Lago mare Rocha, a daughter of Group I South Australian Oaks winner Larrocha.

It's also the family of Group I winner and Champion WA Sire Blackfriars, who died just a few weeks ago.

Copy: Breednet

Sunlight Set To Sizzle At Gold Coast Before Taking Aim At Magic Millions

Sunlight has continued to thrive in Queensland, and is poised to frank her high rating in Magic Millions betting when she has a final tune-up at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Trainer Tony McEvoy supervised a piece of work at Doomben on Wednesday and liked what he saw.

“She wasn’t sent out to do much,” McEvoy said. “I don’t need to change much. She just cruised around, she was quite casual, but used her action well, her ears were up, she was bright and she enjoyed it.”

Sunlight burst into Magic Millions calculations with a thumping 900m Gold Coast win on December 23. She goes to 1100m on Saturday, when rivals will include the highly-spruiked Waterhouse-Bott filly Terminology.

McEvoy believes she is set to peak on Magic Millions Day and expects Saturday’s race to top her off.

Sunlight Courier Mail 1.jpg

“I definitely need to run her,” he said. “She’s full and well. She’s really thrived up here so Saturday will clean her up really nicely. She will be spot on after this race.”

McEvoy makes no secret he holds Sunlight in the highest regard and said “it will take a smart horse to beat her” this weekend.

“She’s pretty good,” he said. “The first mistake she ever made in her life was (on debut at Flemington). She just didn’t want to relax and got a bit excited on the day.

“It cost her the race. She had those horses beat and she just emptied the last 100 yards and allowed them to pass her. I know she’s got a little bit left in the tank because this is not her grand final and this will peak her for the race we came here for.”

McEvoy is also pressing ahead to a Magic Millions start with Crockett, who flopped as a heavily-backed commodity in last Saturday’s B.J. McLachlan Stakes.

“I gave him a bit of work at Eagle Farm (Wednesday) and he’s as bright as a button,” the trainer said. “He just had a really bad day the other day. I think he melted a bit. It was a very hot day and colts can sometimes do that.

“He wasn’t there. We all have bad days and I’m happy just to put a line through it.”

McEvoy said a scope on the colt came back “as clean as a whistle” and he was just waiting on reports from blood tests he had taken.

“But my eye told me he’s perfect and I’m just going to put it down to one of those things,” he said. “I will put a tongue tie on him, I will put a set of blinkers on him. I’ll just trick around with his training a bit in the next 10 days just to stimulate him and we will be there for the big race.”

Sunlight was purchased by Blue Sky Bloodstock, Aquis Farm and trainer Tony McEvoy from the draft of Widden Stud at the 2017 Magic Millions Yearling Sale - pictured below as a yearling.

Sunlight yearling.jpg


News, Nathan Exelby, Courier Mail

Clear skies and bright Sunlight for McEvoy as filly announces arrival

THE Spirit Of Boom grip on next month’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic was loosened a shade as Tony McEvoy’s flying filly Sunlight put another first-season sire into the spotlight on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Sunlight is the first winner for Widden Stud-based Zoustar and she firmed from $15 into $7 with UBET for the Magic Millions after posting a near five-length win.

Sunlight’s official time of 50.42 seconds was significantly quicker than the 50.91sec posted by Katy’s Daughter in the other two-year-old division.

Sunlight, a $300,000 buy from last year’s Magic Millions for McEvoy Mitchell Racing and Julian Blaxland’s Blue Sky Bloodstock, has plenty of improvement to come, according to her trainer.

McEvoy took one look at the filly after she returned to scale and said “she’ll run again” before the Millions, naming the 1100m two-year-old at the Coast one week before the $2 million Classic.

It’s the same race Houtzen won last year before claiming the Millions.

“She’s very full,” McEvoy said. “She’s just up in the body, she needs a bit more.”

McEvoy had to revert to plan-B for Sunlight after he was forced to scratch her from last week’s Calaway Gal Stakes because of the widest barrier.

“The black-type last week was the key, but given she’s not wound up yet,” he said.

Sunlight Courier Mail 1.jpg

“I just was worried if she got gassed from that barrier, it might have been the end of our prep.

“When there was the alternative with the benefit of being able to have a look at the track here, the owners all said ‘go for it’. I wanted to see her let rip and I’m really pleased.

“At Flemington she got it all wrong. She overraced and didn’t use her oxygen well. Today she was nice and smooth.

“She’s growing up and learning so I’m very excited about her.”

Jockey Luke Currie won dual Group 1 races for McEvoy this year on Hey Doc and rates Sunlight as a filly of significant promise.

Sunlight Courier Mail 2.jpg

“She was very impressive. Tony has always had a big opinion of her,” he said.

“She ran well at Flemington, but it might not have suited. I came back off the leader and she was a little bit uncomfortable that way.

“Rolling today, as she had done in her trial here, she was better.

“It was a big day down the straight at Flemington and she got a bit stirred up.

“I think she has improved off Flemington.

“Obviously the trip up here has brought her on a bit. She’s quite a nice filly to deal with.”

Currie said Sunlight gave him the feel that she would comfortably see out 1200m.

“She ran that race out strongly and I couldn’t see it being a worry,” he said.

Sunlight News Corp.jpg

Copy: Nathan Exelby - The Sunday Mail (QLD), Images: News Corp and The Courier Mail.

Zoustar Winner Zooms into Magic Millions Contention

Northern Meteor's champion son Zoustar broke the ice with his first winner at the Gold Coast on Saturday after exciting filly Sunlight scored an explosive victory that prompted bookmakers to put her on the third line of betting for the $2million Magic Millions 2YO Classic next month.

Sunlight 1.jpg

Third in the Listed VRC Maribyrnong Trial in early October, the Tony McEvoy trained filly was given a short break after that and tuned up for her return with a trial win at the Gold Coast on December 7.

Scratched from the Listed BRC Calway Gal Stakes last Saturday after drawing an outside gate, Sunlight ( race image Magic Millions Twitter) was a short priced favourite for the $60,000 open juvenile event over 900 metres and gave her rivals a galloping lesson.

Sunlight 3.jpg

She led for Luke Currie and controlled the race, before opening up at the furlong to put nearly five lengths on the field in a matter strides.

Sunlight clearly had a top gear that the others did not and her overall time of 50.42 seconds was half a second faster than the other division of the same race won by Katy's Daughter.

Her last 600 metres in 32.20 seconds told the story of her win and was a second quicker than Katy's Daughter.

Bookmakers have trimmed Sunlight from $15 this morning into $8 for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and she is currently on the third line of betting behind unbeaten Spirit of Boom youngsters Jonker and Ef Troop.

McEvoy said he believed before the race Sunlight would need another run and was still of that opinion after the race.

"There is an 1100-metre race a week before the Millions and at this stage that is where we are heading," McEvoy said.

"It is great to be in Queensland with a smart filly like this one."

A $300,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Widden Stud draft for Aquis/McEvoy Mitchell Racing/Blue Sky Bloodstock, Sunlight (pictured as a yearling below) runs for a ladies syndicate that includes Aquis Farm's Mrs Fung and has now won $52,000 in prizemoney ensuring her of a place in the field.

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 yearling.jpg

Copy: Breednet, Sunlight Images: Darren Winningham


RAY THOMAS, The Daily Telegraph

SECRET Lady showed she was on track for the $2 million Magic Millions Classic by beating older horses in a Warwick Farm barrier trial on Tuesday.

Trainer Gary Portelli’s brilliant filly held the inside rail and led throughout to edge out the handy Goldfinch with a gap of four lengths to their chasing rivals. “I was hoping to see her take a sit but she is just too fast,’’ Portelli enthused of Secret Lady, a last start winner at Rosehill last month.

“She is coming along nicely and actually pulled up a bit big after the trial. “But that is what I like about his filly, I can aim her at a race and not worry about her losing condition.

“My worry is I have to get it (condition) off her rather than worry about her losing too much. I can give her the work she needs to be right for a race, it is a great position to be in.’’ Portelli decided against running Secret Lady in Thursday’s Wyong Magic Millions in preference to trialling her at Warwick Farm ahead of her final lead-up race at Randwick on December 30.

“The fortnight from the Randwick race into the Magic Millions is so much better for Secret Lady rather than having three weeks between runs, particularly with her being such a good doer. 

“I think we are in a good spot with a good, classy filly.’’ Secret Lady will be resting in her box on Thursday when some of her main Magic Millions rivals clash in the $200,000 Wyong 2yo Magic Millions (1100m). The Wyong race has attracted eight starters including Jonkers, an impressive debut winner of the Max Lees Classic, Breeders Plate runner-up Bondi, speedy Adelaide filly La Pomme De Pin and boom first starters Terminology, Skyray and Ljungber

Whypeeo Success Is Boulevard Of Dreams

A lot of success in the thoroughbred industry can be put down to being in the right place at the right time.

Ben Duncan was definitely in the right place when attending the 2017 National Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast. The West Australian based breeder fancied the Fasliyev mare, Sunset Boulevard, who had produced a Group Two winner in Meliora and a 9-time winner in Daintree Road.

She was also in foal to Dundeel, with her previous Dundeel – a yearling – having made $250,000 a few months earlier.

Still, Duncan didn’t think he was in with a shot when Sunset Boulevard entered the ring …

“I thought the mare would make at least $150,000 to $200,000 which is out of my league,” Duncan explains. “I’m really only a hobby breeder and don’t pay hundreds of thousands for mares, but all of a sudden the bidding stalled at $50,000 and I managed to pick her up for $60,000.”

Less than two months later, Sunset Boulevard’s seventh foal – an I Am Invincible gelding called, Whypeeo – wins his Ballina maiden by nearly six lengths. He would then capture two of his next four outings before producing a bold display, leading throughout, to snare the Listed Funky’s Mexican Cantina Gold Edition Stakes over 1200m at Doomben on Saturday.

The Toby Edmonds trained youngster will now target the Group Three Vo Rogue Plate over the 1350m at Doomben on 30 December before a likely tilt at the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas over 1400m at the Gold Coast a fortnight later.


Even more fortunate for Duncan, Sunset Boulevard produced a cracking Dundeel colt in August.

“I’ve left the mare in Victoria and she was sent to Brazen Beau (a dual Group One winning son of I Am Invincible) but unfortunately missed and I’m just waiting to hear news on whether she’s in foal to Cable Bay,” Duncan adds.

However, while Duncan is spot on with his timing, it’s ‘time’ that’s the problem.

“I own the Australian franchise for Horserail which is used on tracks and farms around Australia,” Duncan points out. “We’ve got warehouses in Victoria and Western Australia and it keeps me pretty much on the run. Around 80% of our business is in the eastern states, but I have a 150 acre farm, Forestview, near the water at Busselton and it’s my own little slice of heaven, so I try and spend as much time as I can in this neck of the woods.

“I’ve only got the four mares, but had a little bit of success along the way … aside from Whypeeo adding plenty to Sunset Boulevard’s pedigree, I also bred the Star Witness 2YO, Kiss The Breeze, who won on debut at Belmont in September, while I also bred and race the Fath 6YO, Infathuated, who has won over $330,000.

“Kiss The Breeze is likely to target the Perth Magic Millions in February so it would be nice to have two horses win Magic Millions races on either side of the country!

“I’m not sure yet as to what I’ll do with Sunset Boulevard’s foal as in race or sell, but with the way Whypeeo is going, it’s a good position to be in.”

Whypeeo becomes the 25th individual stakes winner for I Am Invincible, who stands at Yarraman Park in NSW’s Hunter Valley at $110,000: 10 times the asking price of his initial fee of $11,000 in 2010.

I Am Invincible produced a stakes double on Saturday with the Tony Gollan trained, Most Important, notching up his third stakes victory in the Listed Night Owl Lough Neagh Stakes over 1350m at Doomben (having also won the race in 2016).

I Am Invincible ultimately produced six winners throughout Australia on Saturday and another double on Sunday.

Yarraman Park’s Harry Mitchell reckons Christmas has come early courtesy of Whypeeo and Most Important and is looking forward to 2018 where I Am Invincible will have 44 yearlings up for grabs at the Gold Coast Magic Millions and another 39 set aside for the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

“He (I Am Invincible) had an incredible book of mares in 2017 … they just kept ringing me up,” Mitchell reveals. “And full marks to (Whypeeo’s breeder) Yvonne Smith who has been a great supporter of the farm over the years.

“Yvonne used to look after all the catering at the Magic Millions complex on the Gold Coast and was on the Gold Coast Turf Club committee too, but is probably best known as the part-owner of Assertive Lad who a Doncaster, a Champagne and AJC Sires’ for Gai (Waterhouse).

“The old boy is now 20 and is still full of beans running around his paddock here at Yarraman.”

Whypeeo was purchased by leading bloodstock agent, Julian Blaxland of Blue Sky Bloodstock, for $200,000 at the 2016 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, joining an honour roll which includes the likes of 2017 Group Two winning 2YO, Frolic, Don’t Doubt Mamma and Beneteau.

“He (Whypeeo) was just a tremendous athlete … a real stand out,” Blaxland points out. “Very good looking and typical of the I Am Invincibles.

“The Whypeeo ownership group is anchored by Mark Sowerby who is on the board of Racing Queensland and been a great supporter of Blue Sky since I kicked off 10 years ago.

“Another of the owners is Gary Diamond who has been hugely successful in the last few years with horses like Capitalist and Houtzen. I’m always happy to get him in to one of my horses as he adds three legs to them!

“As for the name, Whypeeo? Mark organised a bunch of owners that are all new to racing and which are part of YPO (Young Presidents’ Group), the world’s premier leadership organisation of chief executives.

“It’s terrific to see them get off to such a great start and even better if Whypeeo can win the Guineas.”

Copy: Aushorse, Image: Trackside Photography

Summer Crown Bonus An Option For Whypeeo

A $400,000 Summer Crown bonus has emerged as a serious option for under-rated Gold Coast three-year-old Whypeeo following the gelding’s narrow win in the Gold Edition Plate at Doomben on Saturday.

Whypeeo gave premier jockey Jeff Lloyd his second win of the day leading all the way to down Sydney raider Pierata by a short neck in the 1200-metre Listed feature.

Shogun Son was third, a further 2-1/4 lengths away.

Whypeeo DW Dec 16 3.jpg

Whypeeo’s win was his fourth from six starts and made amends for his previous third in a Benchmark race at Canterbury on December 10.

“He went awful in Sydney and we had our tails between our legs after that run,” said stable foreman Trent Edmonds.

Edmonds said Whypeeo would have his next start in the Group 3 Vo Rogue Plate (1350m) at Doomben in two weeks.

A decision will then be made whether he targets the final leg of the Sumer Crown series, the $2m Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast on Janaury 13.

“His next run will be in the Vo Rogue and that run will tell us whether he can run 1400 metres,” Edmonds said.

“I can’t see why he won’t run 1400 metres. If he can get an early lead he can get a breather midrace like they often do in Sydney.

"If he doesn’t go on to the Magic Million Guineas, he’ll go for the Magic Millions Sprint.”

A $400,000 bonus is on offer if one horse wins three of the five races in the Summer Crown series.

Racing Queensland WebNews - December 16, Images Darren Winningham

Whypeeo Adds To Blue Sky Bloodstock's Stakes Tally

It was business as usual for Yarraman Park's flagship sire I Am Invincible on Saturday with six winners for the day headed by Doomben stakes-winners Whypeeo and Most Important.

Toby Edmonds won the 2017 $2million Magic Millions 2YO Classic with I Am Invincible filly Houtzen and will be looking to win the $2million 3YO Guineas with his speedy son Whypeeo, who led all the way to win the Listed BRC Gold Edition Plate over 1200 metres.

Whypeeo DW Dec 16 5.jpg

While the race favourite Pierata was a touch slow from the gates, Whypeeo quickly took up the lead and kicked away off the home turn to open up a good margin.

Pierro colt Pierata closed hard, but Whypeeo was tenacious at the post claim a short neck win, his fourth from six starts with prizemoney in excess of $166,000.

It was a welcome return to form for the progressive gelding, who was only third as a short priced favourite at Canterbury on December 1.

"It was his first trip away (at Canterbury) and it was a windy night and he got stirred up. He was slow to jump and had to be used up early," Edmonds said.

"I knew he would be fitter and he is a smart horse when he is right."

Edmonds said Whypeeo would now run in the Vo Rogue Stakes in a fortnight and go on to the Magic Millions Guineas.

Whypeeo DW Dec 16 7.jpg

Whypeoo's win puts him in line for a $400,000 bonus for any horse winning three select races up to and including the Magic Millions Guineas.

Pierata is also still eligible for the bonus after winning the Winning Rupert Stakes two weeks ago.

A $200,000 Magic Millions purchase for Blue Sky Bloodstock from the Yarraman Park draft, Whypeeo is a half-brother to Group II winner Meliora and is the sixth winner from six to race from terrific producer Sunset Boulevard.

Bred by Yvonne Smith and foaled and raised at Yarraman Park, Whypeeo is the 25th stakes-winner for I Am Invincible.

News Breednet, Images Darren Winningham

Whypeeo On Trial For Magic Millions In Gold Edition Plate

Today’s Gold Edition Plate (Listed, 1200m) will determine whether promising gelding Whypeeo (I Am Invincible) can resurrect his planned tilt at next month’s $2,000,000 Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (RL, 1400m) at the Gold Coast.

Trainer Toby Edmonds was not hiding his disappointment with the talented three-year-old, who was beaten as a short-priced favourite first up at Canterbury on 1 December, denting connections’ confidence in the horse’s ability.

Whypeeo August 26 1.jpg

Whypeeo, who won three of his four starts in his first preparation including a victory over Gold Edition Plate rival Shogun Sun (Written Tycoon), was slowly away before working hard early to find the lead at Canterbury.

He tired late to be run down by country-trained Brockton Punch (I Am Invincible) and Prince Mayted (May’Haab), beaten just over half a length in a Benchmark 70 Handicap (1100m).

Edmonds immediately brought the son of I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) back to his home base to reassess his options, with the horse given another chance in today’s $100,000 race.

He takes on Brian Crowley Stakes (Listed, 1200m) winner Goodfella (Snitzel), the Kelly Schweida-trained stablemates Shogun Sun and Cellargirl (More Than Ready), who was third in the Flight Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) at her last start, and the Sydney-trained colt Pierata (Pierro).

“He has got a bit of a habit of being slow out of the barriers, but we were really disappointed in his first run, to be truthful,” Edmonds told ANZ Bloodstock News yesterday.

“We have brought him home and got him back in familiar surroundings and he looks to be going OK and we will run in the Gold Edition, which will determine where we go with him.”

Blake Shinn rode Whypeeo at Canterbury but Jeff Lloyd takes the ride today, having partnered him to his three victories.

“The 1400 metres of the Magic Millions is a question mark as well, so (today) is a stepping stone to a 1350 metre race in two weeks’ time before the Gold Coast race, so we will get a better guide in a fortnight’s time.”

Edmonds has previously compared Whypeeo favourably with Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m) winning stablemates Houtzen (I Am Invincible) and Red Anchor Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) winner Eptimum (Snitzel).

“He was slowly away and he (Shinn) used him a bit early, so there were a couple of little things that went against him (in Sydney) but we are not using them. He was disappointing,” he said.

“It is black and white to me. He didn’t do what we thought he would do, so hopefully he can improve this week.”

Copy ANZ

Pressure Comes From Within For O'Rourke

Trainer Edward O’Rourke is well aware of the pressure on him to get two high profile fillies back to winning form in the coming months.

O’Rourke will produce the first of them - former boom filly From Within - this weekend with Golden Slipper runner-up Frolic still a month or so away from trialling.

Almost year ago, under Chris Waller’s care, From Within was a dominant debut winner as a $1.45 chance at Canterbury - beating Invader and Chauffeur - and was an early Magic Millions favourite before finishing 13th as a $4 chance.

After failing in two subsequent starts she was transferred to O’Rourke, suffered an untimely splint bone injury, and he’s gone back to the drawing board.

From Within Twitter.jpg

“My main aim is to get her back on track and going the right way,’’ he said.

“There’s a fair bit of pressure. The owners have some expectations for her but pressure is a good thing, it makes you perform.

“We are down a lot in grade and that will be a big difference to us so hopefully we can get a win on the board.’’

From Within has accepted for an 1100m fillies and mares Benchmark 70 Handicap at Canterbury on Friday night, where she has been allocated 60kg - field and form, click here.

O’Rourke has given the filly two barrier trials, the latest was a come from behind win downing Arbeitsam over 1050m on November 28.

“She’s still doing an awful lot wrong, had her head in the air charging, but she has come on from that trial,’’ he said.

“She still has a lot to learn about how to race and not burning the candle at both ends.

“It was quite obvious in her previous races, her last start in the Kindergarten wasn’t as bad but when she ran against Frolic in the Reisling she just charged the whole way in front.

“The main thing is to teach her to settle, relax and hit the line strongly. If she continues to race the way she has been she won’t finish off her races.

“We’re dropping back in grade and it’s all about confidence. We want to teach her how to win again.’’

Blake Shinn has done a lot of the work on From Within, including riding in both trials, but with Shinn suspended Kerrin McEvoy will be the pilot on Friday night.

“Kerrin has come in to ride her work since we knew Blake was suspended and he’s quite pleased with her,’’ O’Rourke said.

Meanwhile, Frolic recently returned to O’Rourke’s Randwick stable after another short break and is building up to a likely return in the Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) in February.

The Slipper runner-up hasn’t raced since the Sires’ Produce in April, where she ran seventh, and has had bone chips removed.


“She’s back in and is coming along nicely and will trial towards the end of January,’’ he said.

From Within (Not A Single Doubt) was purchased by Blue Sky Bloodstock from the draft of Yarraman Park Stud at the Magic Millions while Frolic was and Inglis Classic Yearling Sale  purchase from the draft of Vinery Stud.