Racing: Sun shines on great mare

Deeds of dual Cox Plate winner recalled after descendants win at Oamaru and Ruakaka.
Sunline dashes away in the 1999 Cox Plate. Picture / ALLSPORT
Sunline dashes away in the 1999 Cox Plate. Picture / ALLSPORT

Memories of arguably New Zealand's greatest galloper in Sunline were revived over the past few days through the deeds of her extended family across the country.

Promising 2-year-old Sheralee opened her winning account at Oamaru on July 17, when she scored on debut from the Mandy and Matt Brown Loburn stable. The filly is just the second of her sire Sun Ruler's progeny to hit the racetrack and credited him with his first victory.

Sun Ruler, Sunline's second foal, was a $2 million purchase from the 2007 Karaka Yearling sale with the son of Zabeel retired to stand at stud after two wins during a limited career on the track.

Raced on lease by her breeder and Sunline's mentor Trevor McKee, Sheralee looks a filly of real promise who could well make a name for her sire in the immediate future.

"She is one we bred and brought along at home," said McKee.

"She had shown us plenty of promise but I thought she might get more opportunities down south so I spoke with Matt and Mandy about taking her on.

"It was a great thrill to see her win and, hopefully, there might be a few more in store, which will all help with getting a few more mares for Sun Ruler. There have been quite a few enquiries after the win, so that's certainly been a good thing."

Sunline's grandson Magic Of The Sun won his second race at Ruakaka on Saturday. Photo / Race Images
Sunline's grandson Magic Of The Sun won his second race at Ruakaka on Saturday. Photo / Race Images

It became even better for McKee on Saturday when progressive 3-year-old Magic Of The Sun scored his second win from just four starts with a gritty performance at Ruakaka. The Per Incanto gelding is out of Sunstrike who was Sunline's first foal and is raced by McKee and son Stephen, who also bred him.

"He is a nice galloper who we think could put a few more on the board after that performance," he said.

"He finished second to a good one in All Roads last time and he went on and won again on Saturday so the form stacks up pretty well."

McKee will take plenty of interest in Friday's Winter Mixed Bloodstock Sale at Karaka, where a number of his broodmare band are on offer, with the majority in foal to Sun Ruler. "We are just looking to freshen up the mares we are breeding from so we decided to put a few in the sale.

"We're hoping with what has happened over the last week or so it will help create more interest in them."

Sunline raced 45 times for 32 wins, eight seconds, two thirds and an Australasian record $11 million in stakes. She raced in four countries and won in three; she twice won the Cox Plate, along with two Doncaster Hcps.

She was twice elected Australian Racehorse of the Year and four times New Zealand Horse of the Year and was inducted into the New Zealand and Australian Racing Halls of Fame.

- NZ Racing Desk

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