Coolmore a family affair for Sunlight and Zoustar’s crop
TONY McEvoy was content to play party pooper yesterday when his star filly, Sunlight, put a temporary halt on the stallion-making aspirations of a handful of brilliant colts by taking out the $1 million Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes.
Sunlight’s gritty victory also delivered an incredible trifecta in the race for her father, Zoustar - from his first crop - and also carried on an extraordinary four-generation family tradition in this event.
The only filly in the race, Sunlight ($5.50) was handy from the start and put the early pressure on Written By ($4), before holding off a fast-finishing Zousain ($3.40 favourite), to win by a half-neck.
Lean Mean Machine ($10) was a length away third.
“I am happy to win any race, and I understand the measure for what this race can do for a colt,” an elated McEvoy said.
“But, look, when you have a filly as good as she is, why not back her up? This showed that if she had the luck last week she would have won the Manikato (Stakes).
“She has always had plenty of fight. They all had their chance to beat her. She was courageous – she is a star.”
Sunlight has now won eight of her 12 starts, including this year’s Magic Millions, with the Coolmore victory pushing her through the $3 million prizemoney bracket.
Sunlight capped off an amazing family run in this race. Zoustar, won the Coolmore in 2013, and his father, Northern Meteor, claimed the race in 2008.
And Northern Meteor’s sire, Encosta De Lago, won the race when it was a Group 2 in its previous guise as the Ascot Vale Stakes.
Widden Stud’s Antony Thompson, who stands Zoustar for a $60,500 service fee, was conflicted in the Coolmore Stud Stakes, having bred Sunlight but owning a share of runner-up Zousain.
Victory could have made a multimillion-dollar difference to Zousain’s worth as a stallion, but Thompson is certain the threetime Group 1 runner would have his moment in the sun.
“We always thought Zoustar would be a star at stud and to have three runners from his first crop in this race was a great achievement,” Thompson said. “But to trifecta it is next level.’’