By MIKE DILLON
MELBOURNE - Some of Australia's top jockeys heaped praise on Sunline.
Jim Cassidy says he has a new appreciation of what it must have been like for jockeys trying to beat Might And Power.
Cassidy was yesterday still recovering from being beaten out of sight by Sunline in Saturday's $A2 million Cox Plate.
"When I saw how she [Sunline] was travelling at the 800m it broke my heart," said Jim Cassidy, who finished fifth on Skoozi Please.
"It broke my horse's heart, too.
"Now I know what it must have been like chasing Might And Power around."
Rider Greg Childs swears he had no idea Sunline was winning by a record-equalling seven lengths.
"I never looked around. I just put my head down and did my own thing," said Childs, basking in what he says is his greatest moment in racing.
The seven lengths equalled the 1979 Cox Plate winning margin by the mighty Dulcify.
"Last year I watched Sunline and in the home straight on the big screen in the centre of the course," said Childs.
Then, almost sheepishly, he added: "I did have a quick peep for the screen this time, but for whatever reason I couldn't see it.
"I wasn't worried though, I was just concentrating on what we were doing."
What Childs and Sunline were doing was redefining equine greatness.
Even if you allow that the main dangers, Sky Heights, Tie The Knot and Shogun Lodge all raced below their best, this was a performance you won't see often.
Rider Stephen Baster became an instant Sunline fan club member when the mare went past him on the leader, The Message, at the 600m.
"Unbelievable," said Baster. "When she went past me I would have needed a towrope to keep up."
Pre-race strategies to take the race to Sunline, rather than to allow her to dictate, simply did not eventuate.
Sky Heights, not for the first time, lost nearly three lengths out of the barriers and was never in the position for rider Glen Boss to put the pressure on Sunline. Being slow away was not what beat Sky Heights. He was never travelling kindly and was being ridden hard by Boss three wide in mid-field as far out as 1000m.
Sky Heights was beaten a remarkable 26.4 lengths and Tie The Knot was 17.8 lengths from Sunline.
Damien Oliver said Shogun Lodge was never happy in the conditions.
"Sunline was so far in front of us I don't think my horse even saw her."