Sunlight and connections return to scale after winning the Magic Millions 2yo Classic (Sharon Chapman)
If ever there was a name emblematic of the opening event for Australia’s sales season, it is Solar Charged.
After all, there is never any shortage of sun at January’s Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale and, despite plenty of new year cheer, there’s also a charged atmosphere for the seven days of sales and races (not to mention inspections, polo, golf, foreshore barrier draws and soirees aplenty).
As for the actual Solar Charged, she’ll be a long way from the Coast between 9 and 15 January – probably munching on some grass in a Widden Valley paddock – but the dam of 2018 $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner, Sunlight, will again figure prominently in 2019 proceedings.
Solar Charged’s Sebring colt is one of 888 lots in Book 1 of the bumper catalogue while a further 234 make up Book 2 (Book 3 will be released in early January).
Sunlight truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Hailing from the first crop of Zoustar, she was sold for $300,000 to trainer Tony McEvoy, Aquis Farm and Blue Sky Bloodstock at the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale: with consignor, Widden Stud, wisely keeping a share via principal Antony Thompson’s wife, Katie.
After winning the MM 2YO Classic, Sunlight – like the previous two winners in Houtzen (dual Group winner) and Capitalist (2017 Golden Slipper) – went on with the job by capturing this year’s Silver Slipper, three other stakes races and the Group One Coolmore in November.
Sunlight’s full sister – Sisstar – would be purchased by McEvoy for $600,000 on the Gold Coast in January, but won’t be attempting to shed her own ray of sunlight on the Gold Coast in January.
“She (Sisstar) ran a very good race on debut in the (Group Three) Ottawa at Flemington last month, but she’s still not quite furnished enough and has gone to the paddock. She will target the autumn races in Sydney and Melbourne,” McEvoy explains. “I do have six or seven youngsters that will target the 2YO Classic though and maybe there’s another Sunlight among them.”
McEvoy signed on the dotted line for over 20 yearlings at MM ’18 including $700,000 for a Fastnet Rock colt, but won’t be ‘indulging’ in pre-Christmas inspections: “I don’t look at any of the yearlings until I arrive at the complex in the week leading up to the sale,” McEvoy points out. “I just don’t have the time but it’s been working out pretty well all the same.”
Pretty well indeed!
Conversely, James Harron – who purchased Golden Slipper winner and Newgate Farm based sire, Capitalist (4 wins from 7 starts and $3.5 million in stakes) for $165,000 from the 2015 Gold Coast Magic Millions – will be putting in the miles before tucking into his Christmas roast.
“We confine it to the Hunter Valley, but for four days from 17 December we’ll look at around 550 yearlings, which gives us a good head start,” Harron reveals. “You can never really tell until you start looking, but on paper at least, it’s shaping up to be another very strong sales season.”
That it does … riding high on the back of 2013 graduate, Winx, plus recent Group One winners Viddora and Amphitrite, Magic Millions ’19 will offer half or full relations to 36 Group One winners, while 33 of the yearlings are out of Group One winners.
Meanwhile, the progeny of 103 stallions are represented in Books 1 & 2, with 61 of them via boom stallion, I Am Invincible, along with the initial sightings of yearlings by 19 first season sires.
In terms of numbers, Baramul Stud leads the way with 80 youngsters, while Widden Stud has 42 yearlings heading north: among them the Sebring half brother to Sunlight.
Riding high courtesy of Group One winners Levendi (2016) and Sunlight (2017), along with Group winner Graff and last month’s Magic Millions 2YO Clockwise winner Hawker Hurricane, the Gold Coast has been a happy hunting ground for Widden.
“We’ve had three winners of the 2YO Classic in the last eight years and, during that time, Widden has also consigned (Horse of the Year) Dissident, Star Turn and Stratum Star which are all now standing in the Hunter Valley,” Widden’s Marketing & Stallions Nominations Manager, Ryan McEvoy enthused. “As for the half to Sunlight … Sebring has produced 32 stakes horses in 2018 and this colt is stunning in every aspect.
“The mare continues to produce quality individuals and this bloke looks to be a real 2YO in the making. He stands over a little more ground and has a lot of scope.”
Taking up the reigns in 2018, Magic Millions Managing Director Barry Bowditch has been ‘scoping’ the 2019 lineup for many months and has fingers crossed that Book 1 can match or exceed the $156 million yield from 2018: “We received a record 2800 entries for the sale and our team has been all across Australasia to source the best quality line up to go under the hammer in January.
“The great strength of the sale is the spread of quality types in the catalogue. You only have to look at the success of graduates to see it’s not all about 2YOs and sprinters, particularly when you consider Winx and recent Derby winners Ace High and Levendi.
“The build up to January is well and truly underway and over the weekend some timely updates have rolled in. We have half, three quarter or full relations to Saturday’s stakes winners I’m a Rippa and Outback Barbie as well as the South African Group Two winner Nafaayes.”