Last updated

SireDesert Sun (GB)
Grandsire Green Desert (USA)
DamsireWestern Symphony (USA)
Sex Mare
Country New Zealand
Colour Bay
BreederSusan Archer and Michael Martin
Owner Trevor McKee, Thayne Green, Helen Lusty
Trainer Trevor McKee
Record48: 32-9-3
Earnings A$11,351,607
Major wins
Flight Stakes (1998)
W S Cox Plate (1999 & 2000)
Doncaster Handicap (1999 & 2002)
All Aged Stakes (2000 & 2002)
Coolmore Classic (2000 & 2002)
Waikato Sprint (2001 & 2002)
Hong Kong Mile (2000)
Manikato Stakes (2000)
New Zealand Horse of the Year (1999-2002)
Australian Middle Distance Champion (2000, 2001)
Australian Horse of the Year (2000, 2001, 2002)
Australian Champion Filly or Mare (2000, 2001, 2002)
Timeform rating: 129
Australian Racing Hall of Fame
New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame
Sunline Stakes, Moonee Valley Racecourse
Last updated on 1 May 2009

Sunline (1995–2009) was a New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who was the world's highest earning racemare of her time, competing on 48 occasions for 32 wins, 9 seconds and 3 thirds to earn A$11,351,607. She won races in three different countries, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. She won successive W.S. Cox Plates (2,040m), the richest Weight for Age (WFA) race in Australia. She also twice won the toughest mile race in Australia, the Doncaster Handicap, once as a three-year-old and then again as a six-year-old. She was named New Zealand Horse of the Year four times and is also the only horse ever to win the Australian Horse of the Year championship three times. The only horse besides Sunline to win as many major races in both Australia and New Zealand was Gloaming, who raced around 1915.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Thoroughbred Horse breed developed for racing

The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered "hot-blooded" horses that are known for their agility, speed, and spirit.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.


Sunline recorded 13 wins from her 25 starts in Group One races (a winning strike-rate of 52%), while Makybe Diva, with whom she is often compared,[ citation needed ] won seven of her 14 (a winning strike-rate of 50%). Greg Childs, the jockey who rode Sunline in 33 of her races, said she deserved to be bracketed with the Diva as the best racemares of the modern era. Makybe Diva was an outstanding stayer and Sunline was a champion middle distance horse. [1]

Group One, Group 1, Grade I or G1 is the term used for the highest level of Thoroughbred and Standardbred stakes races in many countries. In Europe, the level of races for Thoroughbred racing is determined using the Pattern race system introduced in 1971 and monitored by the European Pattern Committee. To attain or maintain a Group One status, the average rating for the first four finishers in the race must be 115 or higher over a three year period. The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities works to ensure consistent international standards. Group One races may only be restricted to age groups or a stipulated sex: they should not be restricted to horses bred in a certain country. Group One (G1) races may be run under handicap conditions in Australia, but in Europe weight-for-age conditions always apply.

Makybe Diva race horse

Makybe Diva is a British-bred, Australian-trained Thoroughbred racehorse who became the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup on three occasions. In 2005, she also won the Cox Plate. Upon her retirement from racing in November 2005, Makybe Diva was the highest stakes-earner in Australian horse racing history, finishing with winnings of more than A$14 million. She is one of only five horses to have won the Cup more than once, and the only mare among the list of multiple winners. She is also one of only 14 female horses to have won the Cup.

Sunline led in most of her races, and sometimes settled just behind the leader; she was difficult to pass. Sunline was an inaugural inductee into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame, along with Carbine, Gloaming, Kindergarten and Phar Lap.

The New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame recognises and honours those whose achievements have enriched the New Zealand thoroughbred horse racing industry. The Hall of Fame's first group of honorees were inducted in 2006, and inductions are held every other year. The inaugural chairman was Gerald Fell.

Carbine (horse) Thoroughbred racehorse from New Zealand

Carbine (1885–1914), was an outstanding New Zealand bred Thoroughbred racehorse, who competed in New Zealand and later Australia. During his racing career he won 30 stakes or principal races. Owing to his performance on the track and his subsequent achievements as a sire, he became one of five inaugural inductees into both the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame and the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

Gloaming (horse)

Gloaming was an outstanding Thoroughbred racehorse, owned, trained, and based in New Zealand. He set many records which included the Australasian record of 19 successive wins, many in Principal Races. Gloaming was unusual in that he was a champion who won many major races in both Australia and New Zealand. Gloaming still holds the Australasian record of 45 seconds for four furlongs.

Early days

Sunline was foaled at Pleasanton Stud near Cambridge, New Zealand on 29 September 1995. Her sire was the handy Group Two winning English sire, Desert Sun, a grandson of leading sire Danzig, and her dam was the former capable mare Songline by Western Symphony (USA). Sunline came from the same family as Phar Lap, tracing all the way back to his dam, Entreaty, who was her 8th dam. A big strong plain bay with no white markings, Sunline was leased by her breeders Susan Archer and Michael Martin to Takanini trainer Trevor McKee.[ citation needed ]

Cambridge, New Zealand Town in Waikato, New Zealand

Cambridge is a town in the Waipa District of the Waikato Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Situated 24 kilometres (15 mi) southeast of Hamilton, on the banks of the Waikato River, Cambridge is known as "The Town of Trees & Champions". The town has a population of 19,150, making it the largest town in the Waipa District, and third largest urban area in the Waikato.

Danzig was an American Thoroughbred racehorse who is best known as a leading sire. He was purchased for $310,000 by Henryk de Kwiatkowski at the 1978 Saratoga Yearling Sale. The son of Hall of Famer Northern Dancer and the most important sire of the second half of the 20th century, he won all three of his races before knee problems ended his racing career.

Phar Lap champion Thoroughbred racehorse

Phar Lap was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse whose achievements captured the Australian public's imagination during the early years of the Great Depression. Foaled in New Zealand, he was trained and raced in Australia by Harry Telford. Phar Lap dominated Australian racing during a distinguished career, winning a Melbourne Cup, two Cox Plates, an AJC Derby, and 19 other weight for age races. He then won the Agua Caliente Handicap in Tijuana, Mexico, in track-record time in his final race. After a sudden and mysterious illness, Phar Lap died in 1932 in Atherton, California. At the time, he was the third highest stakes-winner in the world.

Racing career

In partnership with Thayne Green and Helen Lusty, McKee raced the filly three times for as many wins as a two-year-old.

After a first-up win at three, in August 1998, McKee took Sunline across the Tasman Sea to Australia for the first of an eventual nine visits. Racing in the second, third, and fourth legs of Sydney's Princess Series, for three-year-old fillies, she "powered through the wet"[ citation needed ] on her Australian debut in the Furious Stakes, won the Tea Rose Stakes on a dry track two weeks later, and won in the Flight Stakes - her first of 13 Group One wins. Sunline was then spelled, rather than continuing on to the feature races in Melbourne, and never competed with the reigning Horse of the Year, Might And Power.

Tasman Sea A marginal sea of the South Pacific between Australia and New Zealand

The Tasman Sea is a marginal sea of the South Pacific Ocean, situated between Australia and New Zealand. It measures about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) across and about 2,800 kilometres (1,700 mi) from north to south. The sea was named after the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman, who was the first recorded European to encounter New Zealand and Tasmania. The British explorer Captain James Cook later extensively navigated the Tasman Sea in the 1770s as part of his first voyage of exploration.

The Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year is awarded to the Thoroughbred horse who is voted to be the champion horse within an Australian racing season. This award is open to all racehorses racing within Australia, regardless of age and sex, and includes overseas performances.

Sunline resumed in February 1999. She won first up but was narrowly beaten for the first time by Rose O'War, second-up, in Melbourne's Angus Armanasco Stakes, her 9th career start. The race was not run to suit, with a long shot racing away before the home turn, which may have exposed Sunline's lack of fitness on the day, as she was jumping from 1,200 to 1,600 metres.[ citation needed ] At her next start, Sunline defeated Rose O'War in the Kewney Stakes, and in her first look at the Cox Plate course, defeated the VRC Oaks (and subsequent AJC Oaks) winner Grand Archway by four-and-a-half lengths in the Moonee Valley Oaks (2,040 metres).

Sunline then ventured north to Sydney to tackle the Doncaster Handicap (1,600 metres). Despite taking on older horses for the first time, and starting from a wide starting gate, Sunline was sent out one of the shortest-priced favourites in the race's long history,[ citation needed ] at 10/9 (approximately $2.10). Sunline went straight to the front and never looked back to score by one-and-three-quarter lengths. She became just the fourth filly to win in the modern history of the race.

A fortnight later, Sunline was again a favourite in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2,000 metres), and led the field over the rise (near the top of the straight), then faded to finished second-last of the six runners. She was then sent home to New Zealand for a spell.

Four-year-old season: 1999-2000

Unlike many three-year-old champions, Sunline made the transition to weight-for-age racing as four-year-old. First-up, she scored a win over the multiple Group One winner Tie the Knot in the Warwick Stakes, and was installed ante-post favourite for the $3 million WS Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. At her next two starts, Trevor McKee then tried to get the mare settle in her races,[ citation needed ] but she was narrowly defeated in the Theo Marks Quality (by Adam) and the George Main Stakes (by Shogun Lodge). Her final lead-up to the Cox Plate was a close fourth under 56.5 kilograms (8 st 11 lb) in the Epsom Handicap.

Speculation in the media[ citation needed ] that Sunline would be vulnerable in the Cox Plate - in open company over 2,040 metres - proved unfounded. She was brilliant. Leading before the home turn, Sunline easily held off a late challenge from Tie the Knot, with Caulfield Cup winner Sky Heights in third place. Sunline became only the fifth mare to win the race since its inception in 1922, and the second of four mares to have won the race since Dane Ripper in 1997 (the others being Makybe Diva in 2005 and Pinker Pinker in 2011).

After a brief let-up, Sunline came back in distance and easily defeated other mares in the Auckland Breeders' Stakes (1,400 metres), in New Zealand, in preparation for the International Cup (2,000 metres) in Hong Kong. Sunline led, and her jockey, Greg Childs, explained that she travelled well to the home turn, but, in an echo of the autumn's Queen Elizabeth Stakes, tired badly in the home straight and finished seventh. She then returned home to New Zealand for a spell.

Back in Sydney for the autumn of 2000, Sunline powered through the rain-affected going to win the Apollo Stakes (1,400 metres) first-up. Remarkably, in her entire career, she was never beaten over the distance. She then carried the maximum topweight (60 kilograms) to win the first of two Coolmore Classics - at the time, Australia's only Group One race for fillies and mares (three years and over). At her next start, she carried 57.5 kilograms (9 st. 1 lb.) in the Doncaster Handicap and was narrowly defeated by the lightly weighted three-year-old Over. Meeting again a week later, in the All-Aged Stakes, Sunline relished the return to weight for age conditions - easily accounting for Georgie Boy, with Over in third place, to make it three wins from four starts this campaign.

Five-year-old season: 2000-2001

Sunline started her five-year-old campaign in Melbourne, against the sprinters - streaking away in the Manikato Stakes (1,200 metres) at Moonee Valley. She then had wins in the Memsie (1,400 metres) and Feehan Stakes (1,600 metres), but was narrowly beaten by Fairway in the Turnbull Stakes (2,000 metres). A natural frontrunner, like Sunline, Fairway refused to hand up the lead to Sunline, who was forced to chase, and held her at bay down the straight. It was Sunline's third defeat over the distance from as many starts away from Moonee Valley, but it was a great improvement on her previous defeats, especially since Fairway was a multiple Group One winning three-year-old the previous season.

Sunline fans regard her next run as one of her greatest. On the last Saturday of October, Sunline took control in the rain-affected going to win the Cox Plate by seven lengths from Caulfield Cup winner Diatribe, with Referral in third place. [2] Perhaps unsuited in the conditions, fancied runners Tie the Knot (2nd in 1999), Sky Heights (3rd in 1999), and Shogun Lodge (conqueror of Sunline in the George Main Stakes) were beaten a combined margin of more than 100 lengths. In winning, Sunline became the first Australasian horse to pass $6 million in career earnings.

International success

Returning to New Zealand after the Cox Plate, the mare's owners revealed that Sunline had been part of a bidding war from five different countries, including the powerful Godolphin stables in the United Arab Emirates. All bids were rejected, and the mare was prepared for another trip to the rich, pre-Christmas international meeting in Hong Kong. In her final lead-up, Sunline raced away with the Auckland Breeders' Stakes at Pukekohe. In Hong Kong, she led all the way to win the International Mile (1,600 metres), narrowly holding off local icon Fairy King Prawn, with five lengths back to Adam, from Australia, in third place.

While the victory in Hong Kong neither confirmed nor denied the oft-made claim of her fans that Sunline was world's best racemare, her Cox Plate victory saw the Australian and New Zealand Horse of the Year receive an invitation to compete in the world's richest raceday, the Dubai World Cup meeting in the United Arab Emirates.

In early February, Sunline recorded her eighth win in New Zealand when she was too good for seven other Group One winners in the Waikato Sprint. The victory kept alive Sunline's wonderful record in her home country, which at career end would stand at 10 wins from as many starts. Sunline's next step came with a hit-and-run trip to Sydney for the Apollo Stakes, at Warwick Farm. For the second year in a row, the race was run on a rain-affected track, and Sunline accounted for the veteran mudlark Celestial Choir, with Tie the Knot unplaced.

In Dubai, Sunline showed her customary pace to lead the field in the Duty Free (1,800 metres), but her breakaway tactics were not aided by a home straight of 600 metres. Jim And Tonic (a French globetrotter) and Fairy King Prawn loomed up to Sunline with 200 metres to run, and, after a tough run, she did well to hold on for third. Sunline returned to Australia to contest the All Aged Stakes against a sub-standard field, on a wet track at Randwick. Starting a hot favourite, Sunline was inexplicably - although narrowly - beaten by El Mirada and Final Fantasy, and immediately spelled.

Third Cox Plate attempt

Now six, Sunline returned in the new season with a close second to Piavonic in the Manikato Stakes, won the Memsie Stakes second-up, for the second year in a row, and won the Turnbull Stakes at her fourth run back. In the third and fifth runs of her campaign, however, she was beaten by the West Australian newcomer Northerly - in the Feehan Stakes and the Cox Plate (where a third victory would have equalled the record set by Kingston Town from 1980 to 1982). In both races,[ citation needed ] Sunline led to the home turn, but Northerly surged to the front in the straight. The result of the Feehan Stakes was close but clear-cut, while the Cox Plate featured three controversial protests: Sunline (second) against first (Northerly), and third (Viscount) against first and second. The protests arose from heavy contact between the three horses in the straight, with Northerly on the outside, Sunline closest to the rails, and Viscount in between. All three protests were eventually dismissed on twin grounds that stewards were unable to determine which rider(s) was at fault or satisfy themselves that the interference had affected the result.[ citation needed ]

Indian Summer

Following her spring defeats by Northerly, and approaching the autumn of her six-year-old term, she raced four times in the autumn of 2002 for as many wins - all in Group One races. Each of her nine starts for the season came in races she had also contested in the last two seasons, and returned six wins from nine starts (a winning strike-rate of 67%), compared to eight from 11 in the 2000-2001 season (73%), and six from 11 in the 1999-2000 season (55%).

Sunline opened her campaign with a win by four lengths in Waikato Sprint at Te Rapa (defeating Ethereal, who was out-paced in her first run since the Melbourne Cup).[ citation needed ] She then won the Coolmore Classic for a second time - again carrying the race's maximum handicap of 60 kilograms - and became the first horse in Australasia to win A$9 million in prize money.[ citation needed ]

At her next start, she carried the number one saddlecloth to victory in Doncaster Handicap. With 58 kilos, she defeated Shogun Lodge (who also carried 58 kilos) and Defier (who carried 51.5 kilos but was trapped wide). She closed her campaign with a six length victory in the weight-for age All-Aged Stakes. By winning these races, she became the first horse in Australasia to pass the $11 million mark in career earnings and with 13 Group One wins, she was within one of Kingston Town's record of 14 Group One races.

Final campaign

In the spring, Sunline notched her fifth consecutive win when taking the Mudgway Stakes first-up in New Zealand, and returned to Sydney for the George Main Stakes. Sunline led but was run down by Defier and Excellerator. In her next start Sunline led, and, to a huge roar from the crowd, skipped away by more than three lengths at the top of the straight, but Lonhro loomed up strongly close to home to score in race record time, with a margin of six lengths back to the third horse.

The clash may have flattened Sunline and Lonhro, who appeared to race below their best when fourth and sixth,[ citation needed ] respectively, behind Northerly in the Cox Plate. As planned, Sunline was retired after this, her fourth and final Cox Plate, and her record of two wins, a second, and a fourth is one of the best in the history of the race. She retired with 27 stakes wins, more than any other horse in Australasian history.[ citation needed ]

Race record

1997-98 season as a two year old
ResultDateRaceVenueGroupDistanceWeight (kg)JockeyWinner/2nd
Won10 May 19982yo Hcp RestrictedPaeroaNA1100 m55P. Johnson2nd - Speed To Burn
Won30 May 19982yo Hcp Restricted Ellerslie NA1200 m54P. Johnson2nd - Light Opera
Won9 July 1998Breeders StakesRuakakaLR1200 m56.5P. Johnson2nd - Life Of Riley
1998-99 season as a three year old
ResultDateRaceVenueGroupDistanceWeight (kg)JockeyWinner/2nd
Won22 August 19983yo Hcp RestrictedHastingsNA1200 m55P. Johnson2nd - No Alimony
Won5 September 1998 Furious Stakes Randwick G31400 m54L. Cassidy2nd - Zaroyale
Won19 September 1998 Tea Rose Stakes Rosehill G21500 m55.5L. Cassidy2nd - Zola
Won3 October 1998 Flight Stakes Randwick G11600 m54L. Cassidy2nd - Camerena
Won1 February 19993yo Hcp Restricted Ellerslie NA1200 m62.5L. Cassidy2nd - Delphic
2nd20 February 1999 Angus Armanasco Stakes Caulfield G31600 m55.5L. Cassidy1st - Rose O'War
Won6 March 1999 AV Kewney Stakes Flemington G21600 m55.5G. Childs2nd - Rose O'War
Won20 March 1999 Moonee Valley Oaks Moonee Valley G32040 m55.5G. Childs2nd - Grand Archway
Won3 April 1999 Doncaster Randwick G11600 m52L. Cassidy2nd - Lease
5th17 April 1999 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Randwick G12000 m52L. Cassidy2nd - Intergaze
1999-00 season as a four year old
ResultDateRaceVenueGroupDistanceWeight (kg)JockeyWinner/2nd
Won21 August 1999 Warwick Stakes Warwick Farm G21400 m55L. Cassidy2nd - Tie The Knot
2nd11 September 1999 Theo Marks Stakes Rosehill G21300 m58L. Cassidy1st - Adam
2nd25 September 1999 George Main Stakes Randwick G11600 m55L. Cassidy1st - Shogun Lodge
4th2 October 1999 Epsom Handicap Randwick G11600 m56.5L. Cassidy1st - Allez Suez
Won23 October 1999 Cox Plate Moonee Valley G12040 m54G. Childs2nd - Tie The Knot
Won20 November 1999Breeders StakesPukekoheG21400 m54.5G. Childs2nd - Soap Opera
7th12 December 1999 Hong Kong Cup Sha Tin G12000 m56G. Childs1st - Jim And Tonic
Won11 March 2000 Apollo Stakes Warwick Farm G21400 m55.5G. Childs2nd - Adam
Won1 April 2000 Coolmore Classic Rosehill G11500 m60G. Childs2nd - Beat The Fade
2nd22 April 2000 Doncaster Randwick G11600 m57.5G. Childs1st - Over
Won29 April 2000 All Aged Stakes Randwick G11600 m55.5G. Childs2nd - Georgie Boy
2000-01 season as a five year old
ResultDateRaceVenueGroupDistanceWeight (kg)JockeyWinner/2nd
Won19 August 2000 Manikato Stakes Moonee Valley G11200 m55G. Childs2nd - Honour The Name
Won3 September 2000 Memsie Stakes Caulfield G21400 m55.5G. Childs2nd - Umrum
Won16 September 2000 J F Feehan Stakes Moonee Valley G21600 m55.5G. Childs2nd - Le Zagaletta
2nd7 October 2000 Turnbull Stakes Flemington G22000 m56.5G. Childs1st - Fairway
Won28 October 2000 Cox Plate Moonee Valley G12040 m55.5G. Childs2nd - Diatribe
Won25 November 2000Breeders StakesPukekoheG21400 m55.5G. Childs2nd - Amnesia
Won17 December 2000 Hong Kong Mile Sha Tin G11600 m56G. Childs2nd - Fairy King Prawn
Won10 February 2001 Waikato Sprint Te RapaG11400 m56G. Childs2nd - Fritz
Won3 March 2001 Apollo Stakes Warwick Farm G21400 m55.5G. Childs2nd - Celestial Choir
3rd24 March 2001 Dubai Duty Free Stakes Nad Al Sheba G21777 m55G. Childs1st - Jim And Tonic
3rd21 April 2001 All Aged Stakes Randwick G11600 m55.5G. Childs1st - El Mirada
2001-02 season as a six year old
ResultDateRaceVenueGroupDistanceWeight (kg)JockeyWinner/2nd
2nd18 August 2001 Manikato Stakes Moonee Valley G11200 m55G. Childs1st - Piavonic
Won1 September 2001 Memsie Stakes Caulfield G21400 m55.5G. Childs2nd - Piavonic
2nd15 September 2001 J F Feehan Stakes Moonee Valley G21600 m55.5G. Childs1st - Northerly
Won6 October 2001 Turnbull Stakes Flemington G22000 m56.5G. Childs2nd - Universal Prince
2nd27 October 2001 Cox Plate Moonee Valley G12040 m55.5G. Childs1st - Northerly
Won9 February 2002 Waikato Sprint Te RapaG11400 m56G. Childs2nd - Honor Bound
Won9 March 2002 Coolmore Classic Rosehill G11500 m60G. Childs2nd - Gentle Genius
Won30 March 2002 Doncaster Randwick G11600 m58G. Childs2nd - Shogun Lodge
Won6 April 2002 All Aged Stakes Randwick G11600 m55.5G. Childs2nd - Cent Home
2002-03 season as a seven year old
ResultDateRaceVenueGroupDistanceWeight (kg)JockeyWinner/2nd
Won24 August 2002 Mudgway Stakes HastingsG21400 m56G. Childs2nd - Tit For Taat
3rd28 September 2002 George Main Stakes Randwick G11600 m55.5G. Childs1st - Defier
2nd12 October 2002 Caulfield Stakes Caulfield G12000 m55.5G. Childs1st - Lonhro
4th24 October 2002 Cox Plate Moonee Valley G12040 m55.5G. Childs1st - Northerly

Stud record

Sunline went into retirement at the McKee property near Auckland and produced four foals. Two of her progeny have won races, Sunstrike (2004 filly, by Rock Of Gibraltar) and Sun Ruler (2005 colt, by Zabeel - Sun Ruler now stands at stud in New Zealand). She also left the unraced Sunalta (2006 filly, by Rock of Gibraltar) and the unplaced Sunsett (2007 filly, by Hussonet). [3]

Sun Ruler and Sunstrike met for the first time in a race on 19 December 2009 at Te Rapa with Sun Ruler defeating his older half-sister, Sunstrike, by a nose. [4]

On 1 May 2009 Sunline was put down after suffering from the debilitating hoof disease laminitis for nine months. [5] A memorial has been established at Ellerslie Racecourse where she is buried. [6]

In 2011, Sunline became a grandmother for the first time, when her 3rd foal and 2nd daughter, Sunalta, produced a bay filly by the Danzig stallion, Librettist. In 2012, Sunalta foaled a chestnut filly by the Zafonic stallion, Iffraaj(GB) and Sunstrike foaled a bay colt by the Street Cry stallion, Per Incanto(USA).


Pedigree of Sunline (NZ)
Desert Sun (GB)
Green Desert (USA)
Danzig (USA)
Northern Dancer (Can)
Pas de Nom (USA)
Foreign Courier (USA)
Sir Ivor (USA)
Courtly Dee (USA)
Solar (GB)
Hotfoot (GB)
Firestreak (GB)
Pitter Patter (GB)
Languissola (GB)
Soderini (GB)
Posh (GB)
Songline (NZ)
Western Symphony (USA)
Nijinsky (Can)
Northern Dancer (Can)
Flaming Page (Can)
Millcent (USA)
Cornish Prince (USA)
Milan Mill (USA)
McAngus (NZ)
Alvaro (GB)
Rockefella (GB)
Aldegonde (Fr)
Honey Carlyle (NZ)
Better Honey (GB)
Nora Crena (NZ) (Family: 2-r)

See also

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Super Impose was a New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. In a career spanning 74 starts, he won eight Group One races and a then Australasian record $5.6 million in prize money. Trained throughout his career by Lee Freedman and ridden in his Group One wins by Bruce Compton (once), Darren Gauci (once), Darren Beadman, and Greg Hall (once), Super Impose won the AJC Epsom and Doncaster Handicaps two years in a row, in 1990 and 1991, and won the Cox Plate at his penultimate start as an eight-year-old in 1992.

Flight (horse) Australian Thoroughbred racemare

Flight (1940–1953) was an Australian Thoroughbred racemare that was the highest stakes winning mare in Australasia. Her courageous efforts made her a crowd favourite during the post World War II era and she had victories over some of the great horses of the time including Shannon, Bernborough, Royal Gem and Russia.

Dahlia was an American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. She won major races in France, England, Ireland, Canada, and the United States. She was the first Thoroughbred mare to earn more than $1 million and was one of the pioneers of inter-continental racing.

Fields Of Omagh is a champion middle distance Australian Thoroughbred racehorse of the early-mid-2000s. He was a half-brother to the stakeswinners, King Brian, Malcolm and Timeless Grace.

Leilani was a champion thoroughbred racemare that was bred in New Zealand and raced in Australia. She won six Group One races and a total of 12 black type equivalent races, during her short racing career. At the time of her retirement she held the Australasian earnings record for a mare.

Shogun Lodge was an Australian Thoroughbred racehorse by American sire Grand Lodge.

Cuddle was an outstanding New Zealand Thoroughbred racemare that won a large number of major races including the 1935 and 1936 Auckland Cups in race record time. She went to Australia in 1936, where she won a number of races including the Doncaster Handicap.

Intercontinental is a Thoroughbred Champion racehorse who competed in England, France, and the United States.

Tranquil Star

Tranquil Star was one of the hardiest and best performed Australian-bred Thoroughbred race-mares. She is the only mare to have won the double of the Caulfield Stakes, now known as the Yalumba Stakes, and the Cox Plate, which is the most prestigious weight-for-age (wfa) race in Australia. Tranquil Star had 111 starts and won over distances ranging from 5 furlongs to 14 furlongs. She was later inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

Wenona Girl

Wenona Girl was a leading Australian Thoroughbred horse racemare that had 27 wins over distances ranging from 4½ furlongs to 1½ miles. She won 22 principal races, 15 of which were later designated group one (G1) races. Wenona Girl’s principal wins included the VRC Sires Produce Stakes, AJC Sires Produce Stakes, George Adams Handicap, One Thousand Guineas, VATC Futurity Stakes, AJC George Main Stakes, AJC All Aged Stakes, AJC Adrian Knox Oaks Stakes, Rawson Stakes and Rosehill Guineas, all of which were later classified as G1 races. At the time of her retirement she was the highest stakes winning mare to have raced in Australia. At stud she was a good broodmare. Wenona Girl was later inducted into Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

More Joyous is an outstanding Australian trained and New Zealand bred Thoroughbred racemare, trained by Gai Waterhouse, who has won eight Group 1 races.

Winx (horse) Australian thoroughbred horse

Winx is a champion Australian Thoroughbred racehorse. Starting in May 2015, she has won 32 consecutive stakes races including 24 Group 1s, at distances ranging from 1300 metres to 2200 metres. In the World's Best Racehorse Rankings, she was the second-ranked filly or mare in 2015, improving in 2016 to become both the world's top-ranked filly or mare and the world's top-ranked turf horse. She retained this ranking in 2017 and in 2018 was co-ranked with Cracksman as the best horse in the world. In 2017 she was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, only the third horse to earn this honour while still in training. She is the leading Australasian money-earner in history.

Ultra Thoroughbred Racing

Ultra Thoroughbred Racing Pty Ltd is a racing syndicate and breeder of Thoroughbred racehorses based in Melbourne, Victoria and owned by Sean Buckley. Although based in Melbourne, the company has significant interests throughout Australia, with land holdings in Victoria and the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. The business primarily bases its racing interests in Australia, however, races internationally with a particular focus on the New Zealand market in recent times.


Specific citations
  1. Tim Habel and agencies (1 May 2009). "Sunline put down in NZ". Herald Sun . Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  2. "Cassidy knows how the rest feel now". 30 October 2000. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  3. "Vale, Sunline - you thrilled in victory and stirred in defeat". The Sydney Morning Herald . 2 May 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  4. Herald Sun: “Sunline's offspring fight it out” Archived 13 September 2012 at Retrieved 2009-12-19
  5. Champion Sunline Euthanized
  6. Sunline Loses Battle With Disease
General references