Champion Western Australian galloper Northerly took the first step in his comeback in Perth Sept. 11 with a brave fourth at his first race for more than a year.
To the roar of the crowd, the grand mare Sunline stepped onto the track for her farewell event. She tossed her head about to acknowledge one of the largest crowds ever assembled at historic Moonee Valley Racecourse. At the starting gates a stellar field of runners were waiting for her to contest the $3 million Cox Plate, a Group I event run at the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles.
Northerly became the first horse in 40 years to successfully defend an Underwood Stakes (Aust-I) at Caulfield on Sept. 22. And after his head defeat of Magical Miss, handler Fred Kersley hinted that the 6 year-old grandson of Nijinsky II might eschew a defense of the W.S. Cox Plate (Aust-I) on Oct. 26.
Northerly held off a determined challenge from Magical Miss to win the Group I Emirates Racing Association Underwood Stakes at Austrailia's Caulfield by a head Sunday.
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