A capacity field of Stradbroke Handicap hopefuls...
Trainer Tony McEvoy’s decision to take on the boys on Saturday paid off as three-year old filly Sunlight won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
Matched up against a ferocious field of colts, two of which included speedsters Zousain and Written By, Sunlight fought back strongly down the straight, showcasing the dazzling turn of foot we’ve come to expect from this experienced sprinter.
The decision to back up following last week’s disappointing seventh in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley was reportedly an easy one after Sunlight looked lively in the paddock during the week.
As the only filly in the field, the win secured McEvoy his eighth Group 1 winner, although he was always confident Sunlight was up for the challenge.
“It was a big call to take these colts on with this filly,” McEvoy said after the race.
“But I’ve got such faith in her, and she was there for the fight today, and those colts had their chance to get her. She’s a courageous superstar, and couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Speed was the killer for Sunlight, who fought off a late challenge from Zousain down the straight – the colt also out of Zousain.
Now with just under $3 million worth of prize-money to her name, it’s safe to say the win more than made up for last week’s shortcomings.
“It was no fault of anyone’s last time she just stepped slow and ended up in an awkward spot,” winning jockey Luke Currie said.
I was pretty glad I wasn’t on her back when she stepped slow like she did, but she flew out today.”
It was a tough, gutsy ride from Currie, who looked to dictate the pace early on the rails alongside Written By.
“Wasn’t sure whether I’d led Written By or it’d led us, but he was quite quick too, she come off it and relaxed, just off the buckle on the run and I knew she was going to be strong when she didn’t spend any petrol getting to the 500m” Currie went on to say.
This year’s Coolmore Stud Stakes was run in a time of 1:08.72, the fastest time since Nechita’s win in 2012 (1:08.50).
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