|The queen of Australasian racing Sunline added yet
another Group One race and created history when she hung on for a thrilling win in this
afternoons $2.5 million San Miguel Doncaster Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
The daughter of Desert Sun started with her customary pace and went
to the front with fellow Group One winner Ha Ha. The champion then had to stave off the
challenge issued by the outstanding performer Shogun Lodge before etching her name into
the history books.
Whether she was pitch forked into the race by the
handicapper or not, Sunline became the first mare in history to score multiple wins in the
rich mile feature.
Connections of the mighty mare were overjoyed in their
celebrations and the moment when part owner Thayne Green embraced the mares famous
track rider and strapper Clare Bird and lifted her into the air will leave a lasting
memory on anyone who was either at Royal Randwick or was watching coverage from
Australias richest race day.
The huge crowd, which in a rare result for the Harbour City
was in excess of 40,000, came to cheer on the dual Cox Plate winner in todays big
race and they werent disappointed. They and the connections of Sunline must have
been a touch worried when it looked as though Bob Thomsens tough gelding Shogun
Lodge was going to cause an upset.
Even since the New South Wales TRBs handicapper Mark
Webbey released the weights for the race early in February the race and Sunlines
weight was never far from the headlines.
All of her rivals and other connections who had
nominated in the race looked in disbelief when the eyed the list of horse names and
weights they would be asked to carry in the handicap event.
Terms like "pitch forked", "weighted
certainty" and "extremely well treated" were coming thick and fast and from
being Webbey who Mark Webbey soon became a household name.
But perhaps Mr Webbey may have got it right. Well the
weights of Sunline and Shogun Lodge anyway. When those two gallopers hit the line little
more than a tote ticket separated them.
Speculation continues as to whether the Doncaster is going
to be the grand mares last run. Co-trainers Trevor and Steve McKee havent
ruled out another tilt at the Cox Plate in the Spring, but perhaps with the risk of
tarnishing a near faultless record they will decide the time is right to bring the curtain
down on one of the regions best gallopers.
Sunline may have been the best mare ever to grace
Australian racetracks and I just hope you enjoyed it, we are sure not to see another for a
long., long time.
And if she does race on lets hope the butch mare
continues to thrill racegoers and attract thousands of extra spectators to wherever she
goes. Connections have hinted she may even back up next Saturday in the Group One All Aged
Stakes in Sydney before a chance in Hong Kong or the Cox Plate.
And whos going to end up with the mare? Well many are
speculating she could be sold to United Arab Emirates locals, but whoever does manage to
snare the prized mare is sure to give her every chance of turning her into a great
broodmare of the future. Shes been given every chance on the track and come through
with flying colours and Im sure with the right opportunity she can do likewise in
If todays was your last run Sunline, then thanks for
the memories. You are the best galloper Ive seen race and who will ever forget that
sensational second Cox Plate victory at Moonee Valley I certainly wont!
PICS - Jenny