Sunlight shines brightest in extraordinary session at Magic Millions
Coolmore purchases the triple Group 1 winner for new benchmark A$4.2 million
Sunlight, a star on the track who was instrumental in launching her sire Zoustar and been a life-changer for many of her all-female syndicate, yesterday set a new Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare record with a stunning A$4.2 million (£2.3m/€2.5m) figure.
Sunlight, who took the record previously held by A$3.4m mare Listen Here, made the eye-watering figure after Coolmore demonstrated its sales ring strength to land the mare and then followed up with the purchase of high-class sprinter Champagne Cuddles. She was knocked down to the global operation for an even A$2m.
Coolmore also paid A$1.3m for Invincibella earlier in the session while Yulong bought the fourth seven-figure mare on day one, the Group 1 winner Unforgotten, for an incredible A$2.75m.
The July sale, held in unique circumstances amid the coronavirus pandemic, again demonstrated the almost insatiable demand for the absolute elite mares presented to the marketplace and the day one sale figures back that up.
Not surprisingly, bidding on the unreserved Sunlight opened at A$1m with leading domestic and international players all making a move for the mare before Coolmore stepped in once the price had surpassed A$3m.
The unnamed underbidder, who also ran second on last year’s top-priced A$2.3m mare Missrock, was acting on the phone via Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch.
Coolmore’s trio of Sunlight, Champagne Cuddles and Invincibella will be covered to southern hemisphere time by second season sire Justify this year.
"We really wanted to have her. Sunlight is so good-looking and we are trying to build a really serious broodmare band at Coolmore and if you are serious about that, you have to have mares like her in it,” the operation’s Tom Magnier said.
"We are delighted to have got her and hopefully we will have a bit of luck along the way.”
Sunlight, who was raced by an all-female syndicate and won the women’s bonus in her spectacular 2018 Magic Millions 2YO Classic victory, had been a A$300,000 buy a year earlier at the Gold Coast sale.
Widden Stud principal Antony Thompson, who consigned the mare, admitted it was a bittersweet moment to sell the Coolmore Stud Stakes, Newmarket Handicap and William Reid Stakes winner despite the enormity of the price tag.
"What do you say? A real life-changing mare for everyone involved,” said Thompson.
"She has been so special for everyone associated with her and it’s great to see her go to Coolmore, which is such a magnificent farm and a great home and I’m sure they will do very, very well with a mare like that for a long time.
“We would have loved to have taken her home and I am sure everyone that has been associated with her would love to buy the foals out of her and we will follow her second career closely.
"But it is a credit to Coolmore they have made a point of buying the best mares, not just in Australia, but around the world recently, and she is a great addition to any farm. Coolmore's commitment to Justify is well known and it's been very evident in the quality of mares they have bought for him and have continued to buy for him.
"She put Zoustar on the map and kicked off his career and she is just a great advertisement for an amazing young stallion and we will always be grateful to her for that.”
Connections, some who had joined forces in an attempt to buy her including Thompson and his wife Katie, were emotional after the life-changing auction result.
“We were certainly interested to try and buy her and we would have loved to have taken her back to Widden, unfortunately we didn’t have the group at that level," the Widden Stud principal said.
"Not only is she an incredible race filly, but certainly as a physical, she was just a stunning, stunning type. She really just blew everyone away here on the ground with what an amazing physical she is. Everyone who looked at her could tell why she was so good and she was much admired by everyone who saw her.
"She's the sort of mare that can be mated to so many stallions. Justify this season, but she could go to Galileo or any of their other top stallions in the future. They have got a lovely blank canvas to work with and I am sure they will breed some very nice horses out of her."
Out of the Group 3-winning mare Solar Charged, Sunlight’s younger sibling Sisstar is also a stakes winner for the McEvoy stable while another half-sister is the stakes-placed Sheikha.
Sunlight’s brother was bought for A$1.1m at this year’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale by Hawkes Racing for a syndicate headed by Orbis Bloodstock and his breeders Widden Stud and Telemon Thoroughbreds’ Dan and Rae Fletcher.
On Coolmore’s unwavering and astronomical financial investment in US Triple Crown winner Justify, Magnier said: “We are committed to Justify - he is the horse of a generation as well. He won the Triple Crown in America and retired unbeaten.
“We have spent the last year, year and half trying to find the best mares to go to Justify and we will support him in the breeding barn, in the sales ring and on the racetrack.
“His foals in America have been outstanding and hopefully next week we will have the first Justify foals on the ground in Australia. If we can follow through with more exciting progeny next year, it will be very exciting for Justify.”
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