Central Highlands owner linked to Sunlight

Sunlight has Central Highlands link


Jockey Luke Currie rides Sunlight to victory in the Magic Millions. - Picture: Albert Perez

Jockey Luke Currie rides Sunlight to victory in the Magic Millions. - Picture: Albert Perez

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Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.

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THERE are several Dan Fletchers listed on Linkedin – promoted on the internet as the world’s biggest business network.

Two of them live in Emerald in Central Queensland. One is a financial planner – the other is General Manager – Communities at the Central Highlands Reginal Council. Both own racehorses and occasionally get each other’s mail and phone calls.

But only one can lay claim to be the co-breeder of this year’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Sunlight – a 2YO filly by Group 1 winner Zoustar from Solar Charged sold through Widden Stud (as agent), Widen Valley, NSW, for $300,000 at last year’s Magic Millions yearling sale at the Gold Coast to South Australian trainer Tony McEvoy.

That’s financial planner Dan Fletcher who’s also treasurer of the Springsure Jockey Club. Originally from Blackall, Dan moved to Emerald some 20 years ago and has raced several ‘bush’ horses. However, he ‘upped the ante’ in 2012 by buying a rising 15YO winning Marauding  mare Steal My Love in foal to Widden-based Golden Slipper winner Sebring for $30,000 at the  Magic Millions national brood mare sale.

The resultant colt foal was accepted by Inglis for its 2014 Easter yearling sale where he sold for $185,000 on the strength of his older multiple stakes winning half-brother Amorino. Named Let Us Win,  the colt became the second stakes winner for his dam by winning the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes at Rosehill before being on-sold to Hong Kong.

Keen to continue his involvement in well-bred mares, Dan decided to re-invest his yearling sale proceeds by partnering with Widden Stud in mare ownership. Indeed, one of their first ventures was to join with Qatar Racing to buy the Group 3 winning Charge Forward mare Solar Charged in foal to Sebring for $650,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions national broodmare sale. The resultant filly foal was stakes-placed Sheikha while her following mating to fellow Widden sire Zoustar produced Sunlight.

Dan’s not listed in the ownership of Sunlight – his wife Rae and daughters Jordan and Shannon are! They’re part of an all-female syndicate headed by Melbourne women Robyn Parker and Irene Mitchell as well as Loretta Fung from Aquis Farm, and also includes Qatar Racing assistant racing manager Hannah Wall and Katie Thompson from Widden Stud.

Dan's daughter Jordan deputised for the Fletchers leading Sunlight back to the winner’s stalls amid scenes of jubilation. Providing she recovers from the taxing race, trainer Tony McEvoy now plans to target the $3 million Golden Slipper in the Autumn. With her $300,000 price tag, Sunlight is the most expensive yearling to ever win the race.

Central Queensland News reports that in a truly remarkable result for country racing participants, Outback Barbie (Spirit Of Boom/Pure Purrfection), who is raced  by Central Queensland beef producers Allan and Jennifer Acton, was a short-neck away in third.

Massive week for Fletcher family

TO top off a massive week for the Fletcher family, Sunlight’s full sister was sold the day prior to the Magic Millions race day through the draft of Widden Stud for $600,000 to Tony McEvoy.

The majority of Sunlight's owners have participated in the purchase, and the Fletcher girls have once again thrown their hat in the ring.

Dan also had two other yearlings go through the sales. He was a partner with Widden in another Zoustar filly from Satinka which sold to Cameron Cooke Bloodstock and Bussuttin Racing for $525,000. He also consigned a Star Witness/Aragonce filly, foaled at his Emerald property, in the Book 2 session bought by the Hayes/Dabernig stable for $100,000.

Other prominent Central Queensland buyers were Alan and Jennifer Acton who paid $450,000 for a bay Snitzel/Urban Groove filly offered by Newgate Farm while Ron Beak paid $50,000 for a filly from the first crop of Breeder's Plate winner Whittington offered by  Grandview Stud, Peak Crossing.

Last hurrah for Cox

WHILE the 2018 Magic Millions turned a new page for the company, it was the final hurrah for its Managing Director, Vin Cox, who has taken up the reins at breeding and racing powerhouse, Godolphin.

Aushorse webnews reports that after seven years at the helm, Cox was given the ‘honour’ of auctioneering the final lot on Sunday afternoon (for the record, the Charge Forward/Trois Coleurs colt was knocked down for $80,000).

“The thoroughbred industry world-wide is in a really healthy state, but nowhere better than in Australia. With such incredible prizemoney on offer, it really is easy to promote the Australian racehorse. The domestic buying bench drives the market, while the investment from overseas is the cream on the top,” Cox said.

“It was great to play a part at Magic Millions for the past seven years and the 2018 sale was an obvious highlight, while securing the $10 million race day, along with conducting the Teeley Dispersal in 2014, are right up there too. Overall though, the biggest take away is the tremendous support from breeders and owners. It’s made the sale what it is today,” he said.

Not a Single Doubt filly tops Book Two

MORE records fell on the Gold Coast on Sunday, January 14 as the Book Two section of the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale provided buyers with more opportunities to find winners.

During the day more than $10.5 million was traded on 158 lots sold at a record clearance rate of more than 84 percent and record average price of $66,690. "The momentum carried through to Book Two which was to be expected on the back of the record breaking Book One sale," Magic Millions Managing Director Vin Cox said.

A filly by Not a Single Doubt from the Viscount mare Miss Victoria topped the sale at $280,000 in a great result for a client of  Grandview Stud, Peak Crossing. The filly was sold to Henry Plumptre who was buying for new Cambridge Stud owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay from New Zealand.

The Not a Single Doubt filly was one of six youngsters to sell for $200,000 or more. The top three sellers were all fillies with daughters of I Am Invincible (ex Devoirs for $250,000) and Spirit of Boom (ex Air's Precious for $240,000) also proving popular. Three colts were sold  for $200,000 – sons of Rubick, Husson and Dissident.

Leading sire by averages was current Australia’s leading first season sire by winners (7) Spirit Of Boom – based at Eureka Stud, Cambooya – with six yearlings averaging $144,167.

The story Central Highlands owner linked to Sunlight first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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