I learned early this afternoon that Sunline has passed away. She was euthanased today after a long battle with laminitis. She will be buried with full honours at Ellerslie Race Course in New Zealand.
This news has filled me with sadness as I remember her well. I followed her illustrious career from the start - as a two year old in 1998, to her retirement in October 2002. She was a great sentimental favourite of mine. A race day that had Sunline in the competition was always extra special. I remember how flat it felt when she retired. She gave racing fans five years of excitement. I saw her once in the flesh in the 2001 Feehan Stakes where she raced against Northerly for the first time and was beaten by a head.
The photo is one I purchased from the Sunline fan site way back when. It is signed by Trevor McKee her trainer, Claire Bird, her strapper and Greg Childs, her jockey. Unfortunately it didn’t scan all that well, it still being wrapped up in cellophane after I had it framed. It still remains unhung.
From 48 starts her record stands at 33 Wins (13 at Group One level), 9 Seconds and 3 Thirds
One the great racing mares of modern times, she was a champion middle distance runner who’s like we’ll not see anytime soon, unless Typhoon Tracy proves me wrong.
I have been following the racing careers of her progeny. Her eldest daughter Sunstrike (by Rock of Gibraltar) has been moderately successful and is racing tomorrow in New Zealand in Te Aroha, race five. Sunstrike’s little brother Sun Ruler (by Zabeel) won his first race a week ago, so it appears Sunline’s children have talent as well. There are two more fillies by Rock of Gibraltar and Hussonet yet to race.
A detailed review of Sunline’s racing career is at http://www.barnesphotography.com.au/sunline/page1.htm
View her sensational 1999/2000 Cox Plate victories, below: