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.


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.