Classy filly Sunlight has spiked a temperature and will not run at Rosehill on Saturday. Trainer Tony McEvoy reported to Racing NSW Stewards that Sunlight will not be accepting for the Gr2 Run to the Rose (1200m). Stewards advised McEvoy that Sunlight will have to pass a veterinary examination before she is allowed to race again. The Run To The Rose would have been Sunlight's first start since bouncing back to win the Gr3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield two weeks ago.
Racing NSW has released the latest order of entry (as at 3 September) for the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) to be run at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, 22 September 2018. Occupying the top spot is the Tony McEvoy-trained Sunlight with $1,947,200 in official prize money. Click here to view the latest order of entry.
Racing NSW has released the latest order of entry (as at 28 August) for the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) to be run at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, 22 September 2018. Occupying the top spot is the Tony McEvoy-trained Sunlight with $1,947,200 in official prize money. Click here to view the latest order of entry.
Part-owner Rod Lyons has revealed that a deal for boom sprinter Nature Strip to represent one of the remaining three slot-holders in the $13 million The Everest has fallen through, reports racing.com. Lyons felt that Nature Strip was a strong chance of securing an Everest slot after Sunlight came out and won Saturday’s Gr3 Quezette Stakes; Nature Strip had given the filly windburn when scoring a blistering win in the Listed Lightning Stakes (1050m) in Adelaide three weeks ago. "We are still in the picture. He (the slot-holder) hasn't picked another horse, and the other two slot-holders are saying that you are in the top two of our picks but we want to see him race one more time," said Lyons. "I thought we might get a bit of renewed interest after Saturday with Sunlight, but no one's phoned and said 'Yep, we want your horse'.” Lyons added: “But if he doesn't get a slot, no one is losing a great deal of sleep over it. There are lots of races out there for a horse of his ability.” Nature Strip is expected to make his next appearance in the Gr2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on 8 September.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Widden Stud stallion and former 3YO champion Australian sprinter Zoustar (Northern Meteor-Zouzou, by Redoute's Choice) added a Group race success when high class 3YO Australian-bred filly Sunlight (Zoustar-Solar Charged, by Charge Forward) bounced back to her best with a brilliant win in the $150,000 Gr3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Humma Humma & Thrillster. Sunlight, a $300,000 yearling at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale from the draft of Widden Stud, advanced her record to 6 wins (including the Gr2 Silver Slipper Stakes, Gr3 Magic Night Stakes & Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Golden Slipper & Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes) from 9 starts for $2,273,200 in earnings.
Stunning in her narrow victory in last season’s $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens, the Emirates Park-owned Estijaab, by last season’s Champion Sire Snitzel, has been ruled out for the spring due to injury. A winner of over $2.3 million via three wins from four race starts, culminating in victory over Oohood (I Am Invincible) and Sunlight (Zoustar) in the Golden Slipper, the Team Hawkes-trained filly was given an easy time in a recent barrier trial when fifth behind the Chris Waller-trained Performer (Exceed And Excel). Co-trainer John Hawkes indicated on Monday that, "Estijaab has got a problem and is out until the autumn. We are taking no risks with her, she's too valuable a filly, so she will go back out for a spell.'' (Daily Telegraph). The third foal of the Gr1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and Robert Sangster Stakes winner Response (Charge Forward), Estijaab was a $1.7 million purchase from the draft of Arrowfield Stud at the 2017 Inglis Easter yearling sale and, rightfully so, connections are taking no risks with the highly valuable filly.
Two of last season’s most precocious and talented juvenile fillies are a chance to contest this year’s Gr1 Caulfield Guineas, predominantly the enclave of the 3YO colts. The Tony McEvoy-trained Sunlight (Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner & Gr1 Golden Slipper-placed) and Mick Price-trained Seabrook (Gr1 Champagne Stakes) are among 267 entries received for one of Melbourne’s major Spring 3YO events. Early favourite for the event has been Redoute’s Choice colt The Autumn Sun who monstered his rivals in lst season’s Gr1 JJ Atkins Stakes, however following nomination stage the market has been suspended. Previous recent entire winners of the Caulfield Guineas, generally considered a stallion-making event, include Mighty Boss, Divine Prophet, Press Statement, Shooting To Win, All Too Hard, Helmet, Anacheeva and Starspangledbanner.
At Morphettville racecourse in Adelaide, Widden Stud's dual Gr1-winning sire Nicconi (Bianconi-Nicola Lass, by Scenic) added a black-type success when boom 3YO Australian-bred gelding Nature Strip (Nicconi-Strikeline, by Desert Sun) put the remaining Everest slot-holders on notice when scoring a blistering win in the $100,000 Listed Lightning Stakes (1050m) for 2YOs & 3YOs, defeating Sunlight & Fancy Rumble. Trainer Darren Weir labelled Nature Strip the fastest horse in Australia after his scintillating win in which he recorded a final 600m sectional of 33.27 seconds. "It wasn't overly pretty with him missing the start and over-racing a bit, but there wouldn't be a faster horse going around," Weir told racing.com. "He got trucking up a bit getting towards the corner but then when he went around the corner and let rip, it was always going to make it hard for the others to run home down." Weir said the win would give Everest slot-holders something to consider. "Look, at the end of it all, it was a terrific run and it will give some people a few things to think about," Weir said. "He's an exciting horse and once he learns to get it altogether and switch off, 1200 metres won't be any worry." Passed in for $90,000 at the 2016 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale when offered by his breeder Golden Grove Stud, Nature Strip improved his record to 7 wins (including the Listed A.R. Creswick Series Final) and 2 placings from 10 starts for $571,085 in earnings.
Part owner Rod Lyons has all but conceded that boom sprinter Nature Strip has missed his opportunity of securing a slot in The Everest later in the year, reports racenet. Lyons and trainer Darren Weir have been trying to persuade the remaining slot-holders that Nature Strip is the ideal horse to represent them in the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on 13 October, but Lyons says the brilliant 3YO may have run out of time. "As regards to The Everest, the chances of getting a run are pretty remote," said Lyons. "I think there is only really two slots left." Lyons added: "It doesn't really worry us because the horse is just going to get better. He needs to learn how to relax a little bit more. So if we don't get into The Everest, it doesn't matter, this time next year they will be knocking our door down." Nature Strip is set to clash with classy 2YO filly Sunlight in the $100,000 Listed Lightning Stakes (1050m) for 2YOs & 3YOs at Morphettville on 28 July.
Trainer Tony McEvoy says he is not afraid of taking on open class company in the spring with classy filly Sunlight if her form warrants it. Sunlight (Zoustar-Solar Charged, by Charge Forward) established herself as one of the best 2YOs in the country winning 5 of her 7 starts, including the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes, before rounding out her juvenile season with a third placing in the Group 1 Golden Slipper in Sydney. "She's done very well during her break. The Lightning at Morphettville at the end of the month might be an option before the Quezette if I think she needs a hit-out," McEvoy told racenet. "It's the very early stages but she's getting a tremendous base on her. I haven't tested if she's got better but the one thing I do know is she hasn't got any worse. The first two races will tell us if we want to go through the sprint races like the McEwen or the Moir." McEvoy added: "I'm always concerned about taking on the older horses but if there's an opportunity for a filly with no weight on her back to run in a Group One, I'll take it."
Early entries for both the $3.5 million Longines Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and $1.5 million Ladbrokes Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes have hit new highs, reports racing.com. February 23rd's Blue Diamond has received 1,688 entries while March 23rd's Slipper has garnered 2,452 rising 2YOs pitching a claim to the richest prize in world juvenile racing. But wait, there's more. Blue Diamond entrants can vie for the $350,000 Blue Sapphire Stakes while Slipper entrants have an early seat in the $1 million Golden Rose. The Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) announced a rise from 1,472 in 2017 (up 13%). Stables with the highest juvenile squadrons for Melbourne include Hayes/Dabernig with 143, Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott (106), Godolphin (100), Tony McEvoy (89) and Mick Price (79). MRC chief executive Josh Blanksby enthused, "The total number of entries received represents an increase of over 200 nominations on last year's tally and sets a new all-time benchmark for Victoria's richest-juvenile race." He added, "This confirms the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes' standing as one of the most popular races on the calendar, which continues to attract Australia's best two-year-old horses." Flashing light early entries include full-sisters to both Catchy (Hayes/Dabernig) and Sunlight (McEvoy).
Trainer Tony McEvoy says classy filly Sunlight has returned from a break in outstanding order ahead of her upcoming 3YO campaign. Sunlight (Zoustar-Solar Charged, by Charge Forward) had a busy juvenile season winning 5 of her 7 starts, including the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes, before rounding out her preparation with a third placing in the Group 1 Golden Slipper in Sydney. "She looks beautiful. She has furnished a little more but she didn't get too gross with us during her break. She's still got that great energy and willingness and she really loves her role so I couldn't be more pleased with her," McEvoy told Sky Sports Radio. "She didn't get much of a break in her first year of racing but she handled it really well. Her final run in the Golden Slipper was almost a peak performance for her. She's just a fabulous racehorse and at this stage the signs are that she has taken no harm from that [first preparation] at all." McEvoy said he thinks Sunlight will eventually stretch her brilliance out to a mile, but for now she will be restricted to the shorter trips. "These Zoustar's will get a mile strongly I think. But she's got plenty of speed...her mother was very fast, and I think here in Australia if you've got speed I can't see why you would want to tamper with that. At this stage I'm just thinking sprint races," he said. McEvoy said he is yet to map out Sunlight's spring program.
Australian first season 2YO sire Zoustar will stand at Tweenhills Stud in Gloucestershire for the 2019 breeding season. Currently residing at Widden Stud in the NSW Hunter Valley, Zoustar will shuttle to the UK next season where he will join the Qatar Racing stallion roster. European breeders will have access to one of the most promising young stallions in the southern hemisphere. The former champion Australian 3YO sprinter has made a sensational start to his stud career, siring three Group 2 winners in his first crop. These include Sunlight, the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and Silver Slipper Gr2 winner, who was also placed in the Gr1 Golden Slipper. Zoustar also sired the quinella in the Gr2 Sires' Produce Stakes Gr2 at Doomben with his sons Lean Mean Machine and Zousain. Zousain subsequently went on to finish runner-up to stable-mate The Autumn Sun in the Gr1 JJ Atkins Plate over 1600m. With his progeny collecting over $3 million in prize money earnings to date, the handsome son of Northern Meteor has broken the all-time prize money record for an Australasian Champion first season sire and currently sits in 3rd spot on the 2YO table behind Snitzel and I Am Invincible. Zoustar's northern hemisphere career will be officially launched at the Goffs London Sale on Monday 18 June where he was paraded at its first sale in 2014. In Australia, Zoustar stood seasons 1 and 3 at Widden Stud, and seasons 2 and 4 at Woodside Park. He will cover a limited northern hemisphere book and his fee will be announced at a later date.
Trainer Tony McEvoy has revealed that classy juvenile filly Sunlight is unlikely to be aimed at The Everest in the spring, reports racing.com. Sunlight (Zoustar-Solar Charged, by Charge Forward) won 5 of her 7 starts during her 2YO season, including the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes, before rounding out her preparation with a third placing in the Group 1 Golden Slipper in Sydney. "It [The Everest] comes up very early in the spring and look, it hasn't been discussed as it's probably a bit unrealistic for a new three-year-old to come up so quickly against the older horses," said McEvoy. McEvoy said Sunlight is likely to open her spring campaign in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) for 3YO fillies at Caulfield on 19 August.
The Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association (HTBA) has announced the nominees for its 27th Annual Awards Night to be held at Australia's Horse Capital in Scone on Wednesday 9 May. The nominees from the major categories are:
Hunter Valley nursery Widden Stud has announced its fees for its 2018 stallion roster headed by Sebring and Champion Australian First Season Sire elect Zoustar. "Sebring has had a phenomenal last 12 months," said Widden Stud principal Antony Thompson. "Having sired some 42 Stakes Performers, 17 Stakes Winners including two Group 1 winners in this period there was an expectation to increase fee given the ongoing success of his progeny. He's enjoyed a yearling average at both major sales of over $240,000 with a top lot of $1.4 million so we feel his fee maintained at $66,000 represents terrific value." Courtesy of horses such as Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Sunlight, Zoustar has emerged as a potential top-class stallion. This is a source of great satisfaction at Widden which stood Zoustar's ill-fated sire Northern Meteor, the Champion First Season Sire of 2012/2013. "Zoustar has started in spectacular fashion. In fact he is ahead of where Northern Meteor was at the same stage with his first crop. He looks every inch the heir to his late Champion sire," Thompson said.
2018 Widden Stud roster (all fees GST inclusive):
Recent Group 1-performing Kiwi-breds have provided a timely boost to several pedigree pages, along with other outstanding performances, for the upcoming New Zealand Bloodstock South Island Sale to be held at the Riding for the Disabled Building at the Canterbury Agricultural Park in Christchurch on 20 April. Mansfield Farm will offer a colt by Ocean Park (Lot 9) who is closely related to recent Gr1 New Zealand Oaks winner Savvy Coup (Savabeel). He is also related to Gr2 Japan-New Zealand International Trophy winner Ocean Emperor (Zabeel) and multiple stakes winner Battle Hero (Stratum) who recently claimed two black-type sprint races back-to-back. Another star 3YO is Grunt (O'Reilly) has made headlines in Australia with a last start win in the Group 1 Australian Guineas. Mansfield Farm will also offer Lot 50, a colt by Road to Rock, who is from the same family as Grunt. The only filly entered in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby, Danzdanzdance (Mastercraftsman) had a stellar performance to finish third. Trained by Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs, she has also placed second in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas. A colt by Mettre en Jeu, consigned as Lot 77 by Long Acres Stud, is from the same winning family. Clearview Park Stud are set to offer two fillies that have also received timely pedigree updates, including Lot 83 by first season sire Ghibellines is from the same family as Group 1 Randwick Guineas winner Kementari (Lonhro). Other Lots to receive updates include relations to exciting filly Sunlight (Lots 35 & 38), and Gr1 Surround Stakes performer Shumookh (Lot 106). Click here to view all significant updates. All yearlings purchased at the 2018 South Island Sale are eligible to enter the lucrative Karaka Million Series which comprises of two $1 million races - the 2019 Karaka Million 2YO and the 2020 Karaka Million 3YO Classic, as well as the $100,000 Karaka Cup for the remainder of their career. Click here to view catalogue.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) celebrated an elite race success when 2YO Australian-bred filly Estijaab (Snitzel-Response, by Charge Forward) utilised her brilliant natural speed to overcome her wide barrier and win the world's richest race for 2YOs, the $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m), defeating fellow fillies Oohood & Sunlight. Co-trainer John Hawkes, who was celebrating his fourth Slipper success after the wins of Guineas (1997), Forensics (2007) and Mossfun (2104), was delighted to see Estijaab justify her hefty price tag on one of Australian racing's biggest days. "Everybody went off her after the other day but you've got have them peaking on the right day," Hawkes told Sky Racing. "It's no good having them win the Slipper two weeks before. Her biggest attribute is her gate speed. She has shown us a lot from day one." Hawkes added: "She doesn't know how much she cost but it's good to see the expensive ones win." From the dual Gr1-winning mare Response (Charge Forward), Estijaab races in the green and white colours of Emirates Park who purchased her from the Arrowfield draft for $1.7 million at the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. She improved her record to 3 wins (including the Gr2 Reisling Stakes) and 1 placing (the Gr2 ATC Silver Slipper Stakes) from 4 starts for $2,335,075 in earnings. Estijaab is the 13th Group 1 winner by Snitzel and his 4th Gr1 winner this season after Trapeze Artist (Golden Rose), Redzel (Darley Classic) and Russian Revolution (Oakleigh Plate). She is also one of 7 Group 1 winners by Snitzel that have been sold as yearlings by Arrowfield, after Heavenly Blue, Hot Snitzel, Invader, Snitzerland, Sweet Idea & Wandjina.
Trainer Tony McEvoy continues to lavish praise on Sunlight ahead of tomorrow's $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill. McEvoy, who learned his craft under legendary trainer Colin Hayes at Lindsay Park, describes the Golden Slipper favourite as being right up there with the best 2YOs he's ever been associated with. "I was at Lindsay Park when CS won the Slipper with Rory's Jester and Miss Finland (trained by David Hayes). I believe that experience is a massive help to me now when preparing a horse for the Golden Slipper," McEvoy told racenet. "Sunlight is certainly up there with the good two-year-olds I've been involved with. This filly can equal or better what they did up the gallops at the old Lindsay Park so I've no doubt she has the class to win it. I'm sure she has and she has the form to win it." McEvoy added: "I couldn't see her winning an Oaks like Miss Finland did but she's not dissimilar to that filly. When you get a filly as good and as big and strong as the Miss Finlands or Sunlights, that two kilo allowance is gold because they are as strong as the colts, they have as good a bone as the colts, they eat like a colt and go as fast as them."
Champion jockey Hugh Bowman is confident that Performer can provide him with his first Golden Slipper winner in tomorrow's $3.5 million 2YO feature at Rosehill, reports racingnsw.com.au. The talented but enigmatic colt was required to trial to the satisfaction of stewards last Thursday after he dislodged Bowman in the Gr2 Todman Stakes two weeks ago. "Every year I try to talk myself into thinking I've got a winning chance but the reality is my last winning chance would have been Meurice who I rode into third place for Gai Waterhouse in 2007. It's exciting going into the race with a genuine top contender," Bowman said. "I was a little flattened when I saw barrier 16 but with the likely rain-affected track it might nullify the wide draw." Bowman added: "I'm looking forward to being reunited with him. I was very impressed with his trial. My gut feel is they would have gone on to the Golden Slipper regardless of what happened in the Todman. He is an exciting colt and has given me a great deal of confidence since the first time I sat on him." Bowman nominated current favourite Sunlight as the horse to beat. "Sunlight is the benchmark but it's probably the most open Golden Slipper I've seen in 10 years or so," he said.
First run in 1957, the Golden Slipper is recognised as one of the jewels in the crown of Australian racing with past winners progressing to become champions on the track and in the breeding barn. Past winners include inaugural winner Todman (1957), Storm Queen (1966), Vain (1969), Luskin Star (1977), Manikato (1978), Marscay (1982), Rory's Jester (1985), Bounding Away (1986), Canny Lad (1990), Bint Marscay (1993), Flying Spur (1995), Miss Finland (2006), Forensics (2007), Sebring (2008), Sepoy (2011), and Pierro (2012). This year, the Tony McEvoy-trained filly Sunlight is the TAB favourite at $4.20, marginally ahead of unbeaten Melbourne colt Written By at $4.80, followed by Santos & Seabrook at $8.50, and Performer at $10. The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a very high chance of showers (90%) for Sydney today and tomorrow so the track will be rain affected. The Rosehill track is currently rated a Soft 7. The $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m) for 2YOs will be run as race 7 at 4:10pm at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday. Only Ron Quinton and Shane Dye have ridden four winners of the race. Kevin Langby achieved the feat three times although it should have been four but for fate. Steve Hart interviewed the four-time jockey premiership winner – see below:
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the world's richest 2YO race, the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) to be run at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday, 24 March. Golden Slipper favourites Sunlight (barrier 5) and Written By (barrier 4) drew side by side to confirm their positions at the top of the market. The Tony McEvoy-trained Sunlight remains favourite at $4.20 with TAB but Grahame Begg's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner is breathing down her neck firming slightly into $4.60. Of the other runners under double figure odds, the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott trainee Santos saw his price shorten into $8 after drawing perfectly in gate 3, while talented but enigmatic colt Performer is also $8 but must overcome the outside gate (16). Bookmakers are taking no risks with Melbourne filly Seabrook who is available at $9 despite drawing barrier 12. The Golden Slipper will be run as race 7 at 4:10pm AEDT on Saturday.
While Golden Slipper favourites Sunlight and Written By drew ideally in adjacent gates (barriers 5 and 4 respectively) for Saturday's $3.5 million Group 1 juvenile feature, discussion post-barrier draw centred on whether the pair would handle the forecast wet conditions, reports racingnsw.com.au. The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a high chance of showers for Sydney all week. "It's an unknown but good horses handle most things," Sunlight's trainer Tony McEvoy said. "She trialled on a heavy 9 at Cranbourne, it was very heavy, and she handled herself well there but it was a trial." McEvoy is delighted with Sunlight and expects her to be tough to beat no matter what the weather brings. "She's eaten everything and is bright as a button and for the first time since the Magic Millions I can see a rib," he said. "I don't know how happy I look, but I'm bloody happy." Meanwhile, Written By won on heavy ground at his debut but the boom colt's trainer Grahame Begg said he'd definitely prefer a dry surface. "I feel he is better suited on top of the ground but he has that experience on a rain affected track," Begg said.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, former 3YO champion Australian sprinter and now Woodside Park & Widden Stud stallion Zoustar (Northern Meteor-Zouzou, by Redoute's Choice) added a Group race success when brilliant Australian-bred 2YO filly Sunlight (Zoustar-Solar Charged, by Charge Forward) tightened her grip on favouritism for Saturday's Golden Slipper when posting a dominant front-running win in the $175,000 Gr3 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) for 2YO fillies, defeating Cristobal & Sweet Ava. Sunlight, a $300,000 yearling at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale from the draft of Widden Stud, advanced her record to 5 wins (including the Gr2 Silver Slipper Stakes & Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast) and 1 placing (the Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes) from 6 starts for $1,865,450 in earnings. Sunlight saw her price firm into $3.50 for Saturday's $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill. Should she be successful, Sunlight will become the first filly to win the Magic Millions & Golden Slipper double. "She controlled the race, got softened up a bit mid stages but what we have come to learn about this filly is she's tough," trainer Tony McEvoy said. "It's very exciting for the stable. We just have to hold it together now for the next seven days."
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Woodside Park's Gr2-winning stallion Written Tycoon (Iglesias-Party Miss, by Kenmare) added a Group race success when 2YO Australian-bred colt Written By (Written Tycoon-Yau Chin, by Tobougg) maintained his unbeaten record when scoring a workmanlike win in the $175,000 Gr3 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) for 2YO colts & geldings, defeating Sandbar & Spin. Written By, whose female line traces to No Finer, the dam of multiple stakes winners including Gr1 Australian Guineas winner and outstanding Waikato Stud sire Pins, extended his unbeaten record to 4 wins (including the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes, Gr3 Blue Diamond Prelude for colts & geldings) from 4 starts for $1,239,000 in earnings. Bred by Hall of Fame trainer Neville Begg, Written By was retained to race after he was passed in shy of his reserve at the 2017 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale. He races in the familiar Begg family colours of black, white and red that were carried to Gr1 glory by former stable stars Bonanova and Monopolize. Trainer Grahame Begg said there was improvement to come from Written By in the Golden Slipper. "There's certainly a little bit more to come from him next week," Begg told Sky Racing. "He can have a very easy week, we don't have to do much with him." Written By firmed into $5 to be second favourite behind Sunlight for Saturday's $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill.
Racing NSW has released the latest order of entry (as at 12 March 2018) for the 2018 $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) to be run at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, 24 March. Occupying the top spot is the Team Hawkes-trained Estijaab with $273,075 in official prize money. She is also one of five juveniles with ballot exempt status for the race. The others are Sunlight, Santos, Aylmerton & Seabrook. Click here to view the latest order of entry.
With five weeks between her dazzling debut performance and her subsequent start, where she did all but hold off Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Sunlight in the Gr2 Silver Slipper, Estijaab will have derived plenty of benefit from the run. With the Gr1 Golden Slipper looming, though, the rocket-like daughter of Snitzel looked as though one more run would top her off perfectly before a two week break to the seasonal 2YO Championship decider. Currently equal favourite with Sunlight for the Rosehill Gardens feature, Estijaab will carry the hopes of many in tomorrow's Gr2 Reisling Stakes where she's a deserved $1.35 favourite. With the exception of talented Spirit Of Boom filly Outback Barbie, who placed behind Sunlight on the Gold Coast, it looks like Estijaab first, daylight second… and then onto the big one in a fortnight. If she does as is widely expected, she'll join past winners of the Reisling Stakes that include Frolic, English, Earthquake, Samaready, More Joyous, Fashions Afield, Alinghi, Polar Success and Belle du Jour. Not bad company.
Racing NSW has released the latest order of entry (as at 27 February 2018) for the 2018 $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) to be run at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, 24 March. Occupying the top spot is boom Victorian filly Sunlight with $235,400 in official prize money. She is also the first juvenile to claim ballot exempt status for the race after her win in last Saturday's Gr2 Silver Slipper at Rosehill. Click here to view the latest order of entry.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, racegoers might well have seen the forthcoming Gr1 Golden Slipper quinella following an exceptional running of the $235,000 Gr2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) for 2YOs. With a couple of scratchings reducing the field to just 5 runners, former 3YO champion Australian sprinter and now Woodside Park & Widden Stud stallion Zoustar (Northern Meteor-Zouzou, by Redoute's Choice) added a group success when brilliant Australian-bred juvenile filly Sunlight (Zoustar-Solar Charged, by Charge Forward) scored a 0.3-length victory for trainer Tony McEvoy over favoured filly Estijaab, with the previously undefeated filly Gongs almost 7-lengths behind in third. Forced to do more work than connections would have wanted, when taken on by Neutrality a long way from home, Estijaab lost nothing in defeat to remain a strong chance in the Golden Slipper. Racing NSW reports that the runner-up posted sub-11 second sectionals from the 1000m to the 400m making her effort even more gallant. The winner's assistant trainer Calvin McCoy beamed after Sunlight's narrow victory, "When the other two decided to go out in front, Tim (Clark) asked her to come back and she did. She raced like a true professional. It was all class. She was forward enough and we knew she'd run well but there is still improvement to come which is why I have a big smile on my face." Sunlight, a $300,000 yearling at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale from the draft of Widden Stud, advanced her record to 4 wins (including the Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast) and 1 placing (the Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes) from 5 starts for $1,441,450 earnings.
Brilliant Victorian filly Sunlight kicks off her Golden Slipper campaign when she makes her Sydney debut in Saturday's Gr2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill. The Tony McEvoy-trained Sunlight is the $6 TAB favourite for the Gr1 Golden Slipper after stringing together three outstanding wins on the Gold Coast, including a dominant win in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic in January. McEvoy told Sky Sport Radio that the daughter of Zoustar was ready to continue on her winning ways. "She’s great. She’s settled into her routine up here really nicely," McEvoy said. "She’s very professional and she’s got such a winning, can-do attitude." Sunlight faces six quality rivals on Saturday including boom filly Estijaab and fellow Zoustar youngster Zousain from the Chris Waller yard.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Darley's former Champion Australian Sire Exceed And Excel (Danehill-Patrona, by Lomond) added a Group race success when 2YO Australian-bred colt Performer (Exceed and Excel-Gavroche, by Snippets) maintained his perfect record when resuming with a hard fought win in the $150,000 Gr3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) for 2YO colts & geldings, defeating Stratosphere & Exceltic. The highly regarded Performer extended his unbeaten record to 2 wins (including the Listed Arrowfield Breeders' Plate) from 2 starts for $192,000 in earnings. Trainer Chris Waller said Performer would make his next appearance in the Gr2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on 10 March before his grand final in the $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on 24 March. "I was happy at the 100 metres but concerned the last five," Waller told Sky Racing. "But he is still learning and is where I want him to be." He added: "We will stick to the plan to give him a barrier trial and then run him in the Todman Stakes two weeks before the Slipper." Purchased by Harras Syndicate & Mulcaster Bloodstock for $450,000 at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Newhaven Park, Performer is a half-brother to multiple Group winner and Gr1 Galaxy winner Bel Sprinter (Bel Esprit). TAB currently has Performer as an $8 second favourite for the Golden Slipper behind boom Victorian filly Sunlight at $6.
Talented Queensland colt Fullazaboot (Sepoy-Fullazz, by Redoute's Choice) will be on trial for a start in the Golden Slipper when he contests the Gr2 Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on 3 March. The Stuart Kendrick-trained colt has hitherto won 1 of his 3 starts and was last seen charging home for second behind boom filly and Golden Slipper favourite Sunlight in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast. "Fullazaboot is going down for the Skyline Stakes and we'll then make a decision about the Golden Slipper," Kendrick told Racing Queensland Webnews. "He's not nominated for the Slipper so he'd have to win the Skyline quite well to go for the Slipper." he added: "Otherwise, he'll head to the Sires' Produce [Gr1] and then the Champagne Stakes [Gr1]." The $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) will be run at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, 24 March.
Performer (Exceed and Excel-Gavroche, by Snippets) will be out to justify his billing as a leading Golden Slipper contender when he resumes in the Gr3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday. The Chris Waller-trained colt made the perfect start to his career when charging home to score on debut in the Listed Arrowfield Breeders' Plate (1000m) at Randwick on 30 September. The son of Exceed And Excel was installed as favourite for the Golden Slipper off the back of that performance, but has since been relegated to second favourite after the win of boom filly Sunlight in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic earlier this month. Stable representative Charlie Duckworth said Performer had made the necessary improvement during his break to be a force in the world's richest juvenile race. "He's taller, stronger and put on a considerable amount of weight," Duckworth told racingnsw.com.au. "He's a more mature colt. We never tightened the screws at all last preparation, he did it on raw ability and that's the reason why we didn't tighten the screws because we had to allow his body to develop and strengthen." Duckworth added: "So far as we're all concerned we still think he is the one to beat [in the Golden Slipper]."
If bookmakers odds are any guide, recent Magic Millions 2YO Classic heroine Sunlight (Zoustar-Solar Charged, by Charge Forward) is the juvenile to beat in the Gr1 Longines Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) on 24 March at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney. After the obliteration of her opposition in the Gold Coast feature, Sunlight is now $7 Slipper favourite with most bookies, although some are prepared to offer $8 along with the only other runner below $21, and that's Performer (Exceed and Excel-Gavroche, by Snippets). The Chris Waller-trained colt has had just one start, winning the early season Gr3 Breeders' Plate at Randwick, but has trialled since where he cruised home at Canterbury over 900m. If a week's a long time in politics, two months can be an eternity in racing, and next month's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes might yet cloud the picture ahead of Sydney's own traditional Slipper lead-ups.
Tony McEvoy says Sunlight (Zoustar-Solar Charged, by Charge Forward) has pulled up remarkably well from her brilliant win in last Saturday's Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast. Sunlight, who marked herself as the best juvenile in Australia with her victory in the $2 million feature, will now be aimed at the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on 24 March. "She's in great form, come through the race in great shape," McEvoy told racenet. "She ate up Saturday night and was squealing and jumping around when she was taken out for a walk and a pick on Sunday." McEvoy continued: "I'm happy for her to chill out in Brisbane and go to the beach at Nudgee for the next few days but after that I'm undecided," he said, before adding that Sunlight may be spelled and prepared for the Golden Slipper at his farm in South Australia.
At the Gold Coast in Queensland, former 3YO champion Australian sprinter and now Woodside Park & Widden Stud stallion Zoustar (Northern Meteor-Zouzou, by Redoute's Choice) added a restricted stakes race success when gifted 2YO Australian-bred filly Sunlight (Zoustar-Solar Charged, by Charge Forward) made her rivals look second-rate when scoring a dashing win in the $2 million Listed (R) Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) for 2YOs, defeating Fullazaboot & Outback Barbie. Sunlight, who marked herself as the best juvenile in Australia, advanced her record to 3 wins and 1 placing (the Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes) from 4 starts for $1,297,200 in earnings. Trainer Tony McEvoy, who purchased Sunlight's full-sister for $600,000 at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale earlier in the week, said the brilliant filly would now be aimed at the Gr1 Golden Slipper at Rosehill in April. "She's a high-class filly and hasn't put a foot wrong," McEvoy told Racing Queensland Webnews. "She's had such a blessed preparation I feel like a local. We're going to the Golden Slipper now and she's Slipper quality." A daughter of Gr3 Kindergarten Stakes winner Solar Charged, Sunlight was purchased for $300,000 at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Widden Stud.
Tony Gollan says leading Magic Millions Classic contender Ef Troop has had the perfect preparation for tomorrow's $2 million juvenile feature at the Gold Coast, reports racing.com. The boom Queensland colt is undefeated in two career starts, but has drawn barrier 18 (he will jump from 13 if the five emergencies fail to gain a start) in what will be his biggest test to date. "It [the draw] takes a bit of thinking out of the equation. He'll just be out there to get into his stride and whatever happens underneath him will tell where he ends up in the run," the Eagle Farm trainer said. "Everything has gone perfect with him to date. Hopefully there's no fly in the ointment in the next couple of days." Gollan added: "Everything we've planned has worked out well, we brought him to the Gold Coast and trialled him which I thought was important, his runs have been well spaced and to my eye he's peaking for Saturday." Ef Troop is third favourite for the race with TAB at $5, behind only Sunlight ($4) and fellow unbeaten Spirit Of Boom colt Jonker ($4.80).
Meanwhile, Tony McEvoy is confident that Sunlight's wide barrier will not prevent her from winning Saturday's Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast. Sunlight, a brilliant winner of her last two starts at the Gold Coast, saw her price ease slightly from $4 to $4.60 after drawing barrier 15. However, she is likely to jump from barrier 12 if the emergencies fail to gain a start. "It is an OK barrier for her as she should be out of trouble at the start. Ef Troop will have to go forward and we will probably be able to sit on him," McEvoy said. "It is a always high pressure race and my filly has had two wins and a trial up here. She is ready to go."
Twenty-one juveniles have accepted to run in Saturday's $2 million Listed (R) Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast. The field is limited to 16 starters with five emergencies. Unbeaten Queensland colt Ef Troop and the Tony McEvoy-trained filly Sunlight are the new $4 TAB co-favourites for the race ahead of unbeaten Newcastle colt Jonker at $4.50. The trio dominate betting with all other runners at double figure odds. The barrier draw will be held at Surfers Paradise shortly after 9am this morning. Click here to view Magic Millions Classic field.
Angel, a filly with a stratospheric sale price and name to match is set to debut in the opening race, a 2YO Maiden, at Geelong today. By Fastnet Rock from More Than Ready mare Dazzling Gazelle, the filly is a half-sister to Gr1 Blue Diamond winner Miracles of Life and was the vehicle of a bidding war at the 2016 Magic Millions Yearling Sale when selling to Coolmore Stud for $1,200,000. Dazzling Gazelle was part of a brace of purchases from the 2014 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale on behalf of Barbara Banke's US-based Stonestreet Stables, where she also purchased Miracles of Life for $900,000 to add to her enviable broodmare band. Angel is prepared by the Hayes team and has been tuned up for her debut with three trials, the latest a 2.5-length third to leading Magic Millions 2YO Classic prospect Sunlight. This year's Magic Millions Sale (Jan 10-16) has 30 yearlings catalogued by champion stallion Fastnet Rock.
Meanwhile, leading trainer Tony McEvoy has erred on the side of caution and will run highly touted Magic Million 2YO Classic-bound filly Sunlight in this Saturday's @Aquisfarm On Twitter 2YO Handicap (1100m) at the Gold Coast, before backing up seven days later in the grand final. Sunlight, the debut 2YO runner for multiple Gr1-winning sprinter and now Widden Stud / Woodside Park stallion Zoustar when debuting with a third in the Listed Maribyrnong Trial at Flemington in early October, completely dismantled the field when a tearaway winner at the Gold Coast on December 23. McEvoy is trusting current history with last year's winner Houtzen and 2015 winner Le Chef following the same path, noting, ''Running seven days out from the grand final, there's always risks involved with any horse doing that but she's a gross-doing filly and she's very sound. She needs another run before she gets to the pressure cooker of the Magic Millions so I am looking forward to the Gold Coast on Saturday." The team at Widden Stud will certainly be cheering her on as it will offer Sunlight's full sister (Lot 330) at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale on Jan 11.
Astute trainer Tony Gollan is taking a different tack with current unbeaten Magic Millions 2YO Classic second favourite Ef Troop and will pursue the big race on January 13 with almost a month between runs. Having debuted with a narrow victory on November 4, Ef Troop demolished his rivals on December 16 at his latest performance, scorching to a 5.3-length victory in the Listed Phelan Ready Stakes. By emerging boom Eureka Stud stallion Spirit of Boom, a victory by Ef Troop in the Magic Millions will also include significant upside a day later when his full-brother will be offered as Lot 977 from the Eureka Draft. While Sunlight (see previous article) is currently third in pre-post betting for the 2YO Classic, sons of Spirit of Boom hold a mortgage on the market with equally impressive Jonker heading the betting ahead of Ef Troop.
At Flemington in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a black-type success when 2YO chestnut filly Nomothaj (Snitzel-Real Stolle, by Elusive Quality) opened her stakes account with a narrow but determined debut win in the $120,000 Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (1000m) for 2YOs, defeating Ranier & Sunlight. Purchased by Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Stud Australasia for $420,000 at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Newgate Farm, Nomothaj improved her record to 1 win from 1 start for $73,200 in earnings. From the Gr3 Maribyrnong Plate winner Real Stolle, Nomothaj hails from the family of multiple Group winner Berberia, fellow Maribyrnong Trial Stakes winner How Proud, and Listed winner Chattanooga. Co-trainer David Hayes said Nomothaj would be aimed at the Magic Million 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast in January.
The McEvoy stable will also be in the metaphorical spotlight at Flemington this Saturday where it will have the privilege of opening the sire account for outstanding sprinter and now Woodside Park / Widden Stud sire Zoustar with promising 2YO filly Sunlight (ex Solar Charged by Charge Forward). Bred by Widden Stud, the filly was a comprehensive 2 length Cranbourne trial winner on September 4. Zoustar, a dual Gr1 winner of the Coolmore Stud Stakes and Golden Rose will be aiming to continue the incredible sire legacy set by his sire Northern Meteor before his unfortunate death due to a colic attack in July 2013. Sunlight will line up in the Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes in a hot field of 11 debuting speedsters. She will certainly be aided by her pedigree, however, which includes Gr3 Kindergarten Stakes winning dam Solar Charged (dam of Gr3 Kindergarten Stakes 3rd Sheika). Her precocious family also includes Listed winning Sir Dapper mare Aretha and her equally fast son Sir Linford. Sunlight was a $300,000 purchase from the Widden Stud Draft at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
Gr1-winning former shuttler E Dubai (Mr Prospector-Words Of War, by Lord At War) added a US black-type success when front-running daughter Cascadilla Falls (E Dubai-Cayuga's Waters, by Langfuhr) scored by a head in the US$76,000 Listed Lucy Scribner Stakes (5.5 furlongs on turf) for 3YO fillies at Saratoga. Cascadilla Falls (ridden by John Velazquez for trainer William Mott) defeated Funny Sunny (Sharp Humor-Sunny Laugh, by Relaunch) & Sunlight Sonata (Unbridled's Song-Storm Away, by Storm Cat). Cascadilla Falls took her record to 3 wins & 2 runners-up from 7 starts for US$133,084 earnings.
Presenters at the International Summit On Race-Day Medication, emphasised that racing “can no longer make decisions in an industry vacuum” & examined the” public relations & political impacts of current policy & potential changes” reported thoroughbredtimes.com. John Della Volpe from SocialSphere Inc said polling showed “dramatic improvements in fan confidence following sweeping changes that followed the breakdown of Eight Belles in the 2008 Kentucky Derby”; those changes included eliminating anabolic steroids, standardising equine injury reporting, the launching of the NTRA Safety And Integrity Alliance & increasing equine after-care efforts. Della Volpe emphasised: “Racing made significant progress on integrity issues with the fans from 2008 to 2009 We saw 23%, 24% shifts in positive public opinion. I believe the reason we’ve seen such significant progress is because many in this industry acted with clarity & a unified voice.” Della Volpe said racing “cannot afford to be insular with increased media scrutiny & social media access” & noted that, while experts may outline studies “that show Salix does reduce EIPH (exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage), the public opposes drug use in race horses & makes little delineation between performance-enhancing drugs & therapeutic drugs”. He declared bluntly: “This is the era of transparency, the era of sunlight. Consumers expect & demand authenticity & transparency.” To read the full report, click on the link in The Great Debate panel on the right-hand-side of this page.
In India, Moonlight Romance (China Visit-Wandering Star, by Razeen) scored a 4.5-lengths victory in the Gr1 Indian Oaks (2400m) for 4YO mares at Mahalaxmi in Mumbai. Moonlight Romance (ridden by Richard Hughes for trainer Cooji Katrak) defeated stable-mate Sunlight (China Visit-Romantic Liaison, by Razeen) & Siachen (Burden Of Proof-Indian Mission, by Miswaki). During 2010, Moonlight Romance also won both India's Gr1 Derby Bangalore (2000m) at Bangalore & Gr3 Breeders' Juvenile Fillies Championship (160m) at Mumbai, as well as finishing runner-up in both the Gr1 Indian 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Mumbai & Gr1 Fillies' Trial Stakes (1600m) at Bangalore.
In India, the gelding Ocean And Beyond (Kingsalsa-Sayuri, by Sadler's Wells) scored by a neck in the Gr1 Nanoli Stud Pune Derby (2000m) for 3YOs. Ocean And Beyond (ridden by Chandrakant Rajendra for trainer Shiraz Sunderji) defeated the filly Sunlight (China Visit-Romantic Liaison, by Razeen) & fellow gelding Berlusconi (Ikhtyar-Highland Ghillie, by Storm Trooper). Previously in 2010, Ocean And Beyond won the Gr3 Breeders' Produce Stakes (1400m) at Mumbai & finished runner-up in both the Gr1 Breeders' Multi-Million (1400m) at Mumbai & Gr2 Poonawalla Million (1600m) at Pune.