Sunlight tightens grip on Slipper after Magic dash
SUNLIGHT was simply too fast, too strong for her rivals on Saturday - and that might be the case in the Golden Slipper.
The brilliant filly showed superior speed out of the gates to lead on settling down and was never headed to win the Group 3 $175,000 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens.
It was another dominant win by Sunlight, her fifth in succession and she firmed form $4 into $3.50 for the $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper next Saturday.
Trainer Tony McEvoy said Sunlight needed the Magic Night run to ensure she is at her peak for the Golden Slipper.
"I factored this race into her preparation like we did on the (Gold) Coast,'' McEvoy said.
"I think she emptied a bit late which I understand. This will bring her on for next week.
"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 - throw it at her and she will handle it.
"It's very exciting for the stable, we just have to hold it together now for the next seven days.''
Sunlight ($1.35 favourite) had a length-and-a-quarter to spare over the fast-finishing Cristobal ($14) with Sweet Ava ($18) a half length away third.
Jockey Luke Currie agreed with McEvoy, believing Sunlight has improvement in her for the Golden Slipper.
"It was a good run but she definitely needed it,'' Currie said. "She got tired late. She was a little on the fresh side having three weeks between runs but this should top her off nicely for next week.
"I think it was the equivalent performance to what she produced the week before she won the Magic Millions.
"She won over 1100m that day so probably ran through the line a bit better but she was out to 1200m today and got the job done well.''
Sunlight is now attempting to become the first filly to win the Magic Millions-Golden Slipper double. The only horses to win both races are Dance Hero (2004), Phelan Ready (2008) and Capitalist (2016).
She is also on target to become the first to complete the Magic Night Stakes-Golden Slipper double since Bint Marscay in 1993, although Calaway Gal came out of a second placing in the Magic Night to win the Slipper in 2002.
"I liked the way she pinged the gates today, her timing was good,'' McEvoy said. "I'd like to draw inside 10 for the Golden Slipper. I don't want to draw too low but if we are somewhere around today's barrier (nine) I'd be very happy.''
Cristobal ran a blinder for second but won't have enough prizemoney to get into next Saturday's race. Trainer James Cummings said he might look at aiming Cristobal towards a race like the Percy Sykes Stakes at Randwick during The Championships.
Cummings has two possible Golden Slipper runners with Gongs and Encryption, although he revealed the latter is not a definite starter even though he is fully qualified.
TAB BETTING REVIEW
The specking for Multifacets earlier in the day proved to be spot on in the Catanach's Handicap (1900 metres). The Chris Waller-trained runner attracted money at the $17 earlier in the day and after bottoming out at $11, jumped a $12 shot. Following the speed throughout, jockey Glyn Schofield got the best out of the five-year-old to hold out the very popular favourite All Too Soon ($3.40-$2.70-$2.80) and Tamarack ($4.40-$6-$5), with the latter actually opening favourite earlier in the week. All Too Soon was a good go after $4.80 was offered on Wednesday. She held over 60 per cent of the total investment on the opener.
Auvray ($8-$8.50) was pretty solid in betting when it came to the Harrolds Sky High Stakes (2000 metres). Coming from near the tail of the field, the gelding came with a big finishing burst to knock over the favourite Libran ($3.10-$3.40) and give Glyn Schofield an early double. Mackintosh ($7.50) filled the minor end of the prize in front of Salsamor ($8.50-$7) which closed nicely. Libran was the most popular runner in terms of money held and held twice as much as the next best in Stampede ($3.10-$4).
It was painless for favourite backers in the Magic Night Stakes (1200 metres) with Sunlight justifying her short priced favouritism. Opening the day at $1.50, TAB customers were more than happy to take the price and subsequently crunched her into $1.35. Such was the weight of money riding on her that she was responsible for approximately 85 per cent of the total investment. She led throughout for jockey Luke Currie and trainer Tony McEvoy in beating Cristobal ($14) and Sweet Ava ($15-$13) which were the only two horses that had any sort of decent support to cause the upset. Setsuna ($13-$21) drifted after being second select in betting earlier in the week.
BETS: Sunlight $7,000 @ $1.50, $5,000 @ $1.50 TWICE, $10,000 @ $1.40, $6,200 @ $1.40, $4,400 @ $1.40, $4,000 @ $1.40 MULTIPLE TIMES, $9,500 @ $1.35
Written By ($1.90-$1.95-$1.70) led throughout to win the Pago Pago Stakes (1200 metres) and landed some big bets in the process. The Grahame Begg-trained runner didn't have it all his own way though and after leading, had to fight off the brave Sandbar ($13-$17) which stuck with him for most of the home straight. Of the others, Spin ($5.50-$6) finished third but was never a winning possibility. Written By wasn't as popular as Sunlight on the day but still commanded well over half of all bets on the race. Spin was the only runner to attract decent money to beat it, however, still held less than third of what the winner did.
BETS: Written By $9,900 @ $2, $4,000 @ $1.90
Punters had it down to a race in two with Nieta and Sprightly Lass dominating the betting in the Schweppes Maurice McCarten Stakes (1100 metres). Between the pair of them they commanded a whopping 78 per cent of the total investment. Nieta was the favourite for most of the betting but drifted from $3.20 out to $4 when the support came for Sprightly Lass ($5-$2.80 fav) came in the final hour. Although Sprightly Lass ran a cracking race out in front before holding on by a nose over Dothraki ($8-$14) and the fast-finishing New Universe ($12-$14), she lost the race in the stewards room, after Dothraki's jockey Tye Angland fired in a successful protest.
BETS: Dothraki $3,000 @ $13, $2,000 @ $12, Sprightly Lass $3,000 @ $2.90, $3,000 @ $2.80, Nieta $5,000 @ $4, $4,000 @ $4, $5,000 @ $3.80, $10,000 @ $3.70
Unforgotten upset the late move on Holy Snow to win the Phar Lap Stakes (1500 metres). The Chris Waller-trained runner finished all over the top of Holy Snow to grab it right on the line, upsetting the $7-$5.50 move on the runner-up which came in the final few minutes of betting. Hiyaam ($14) filled third after doing it tough for most of the trip. Shumookh ($2.40-$3) got the wobbles in betting late in the piece but was still the most popular runner in terms of money taken. She held more than double what Holy Snow did.
BETS: Shumookh $11,500 @ $2.90, $10,000 @ $2.90
Daysee Doom ($14-$26) outstayed her opposition to take out a thrilling Coolmore Classic (1500 metres). Usually a horse that attracts good support, punters weren't really interested in backing Ron Quinton's mare who was on the drift for most of the betting. Forced to sit outside the leader, she held off the fast-finishing Oregon's Day ($14-$11) which was $34 when final field betting commenced earlier in the week. Silent Sedition ($10) was one of the more popular runners in terms of money held and was close up in third spot. Victory here gave young jockey Andrew Adkins his first Group One. Egg Tart ($4.60) was hammered in betting and almost halved its quote from a high of $8 during the week. She was responsible for 43 per cent of all bets on the race. Silent Sedition was next best supported but held a quarter of what the favourite did, while Bring Me Roses was popular and was next best supported. Of the others, Raiment ($11-$7-$9) got out from its bottom price of $7 but still had good money riding on it while Aide Memoire ($34-$15) was a sharper firmer throughout the day.
BETS: Egg Tart $5,000 @ $4.60, $4,000 @ $4.60, Raiment $5,000 @ $9, Eckstein $1,000 e/w @ $19/$5.50
Comin Through defied the drift to get the better of stablemate Tom Melbourne in a thrilling edition of the Ajax Stakes (1500 metres). Ridden a treat by Michael Walker who timed his run to perfection, Comin Through was $3.60 favourite in the morning but went out to $5.50 second pick in the market after strong support for Tom Melbourne throughout the day. One of Australia's favourite horses, Tom Melbourne was a good go from $4.60-$3.60 with very little separating the pair at the finish. Such was his popularity that he held almost as much as Comin Through and Prized Icon ($4.50-$6.50) combined. Radipole ($10-$8.50) grabbed third.
BETS: Comin Through $5,000 @ $4.40, Tom Melbourne $7,500 @ $4.40, $5,000 @ $4, $20,000 @ $3.60, Cellarman $5,000 @ $9
Peacock led throughout to give Glyn Schofield a winning treble on the day. Largely ignored by punters in the TAB.com.au Handicap (1350 metres), the Godolphin-owned runner led from start to finish and held off the flashing Tribal Wisdom ($10-$8.50). Up N Rolling, the early morning favourite, went $4.20-$5.50-$4.80 and held third. The biggest story to come out of the race was the sensational move for Eagle Bay. The gelding opened $14 in the morning and was crunched into a low of $3.50 before starting $4 favourite. Of the others, Lovani ($5.50) was the most popular runner in terms of money held.
BETS: Eagle Bay $2,000 @ $11
FEATURE RACE MOVERS
LATEST BETTING: TAB FIXED ODDS
Sunlight $4 - $3.50 fav (after winning Magic Night Stakes)
Written By $7-$5 (after winning Pago Pago)
Tosen Stardom $26
Holy Snow $101-$51
Cool Chap $101-$51
Comin Through $26-$15 (after winning Ajax Stakes)
Tom Melbourne $26-$17
Sunlight $11-$8 (after winning Magic Night Stakes)
Sweet Ava $51-$21
Savvy Coup $11-$8 (after winning New Zealand Oaks)
Unforgotten $15-$8 (after winning Phar Lap Stakes)
QUEEN OF THE TURF
Daysee Doom $11-$8 (after winning Coolmore Classic)
Oregon's Day $101-$26
Silent Sedition $15-$11
Serene Miss $11-$6 (after winning Gosford qualifier)
Just Dreaming $4-$3.50 fav