Australian Champion Ethereal Retired

Ethereal, the champion New Zealand-bred Australian stayer by Rhythm, has been retired. The heroine of last year's Melbourne Cup (Aust-I) signed off with another exciting win in The BMW Harry Tancred Stakes (Aust-I) at Sydney's Rosehill Gardens on March 23.

Owners Peter and Philip Vela and trainer Sheila Laxon had considered taking the 4-year-old filly to England for the Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) but instead decided to end her track career. Ethereal was unbeaten in four attempts at 2,400 meters and beyond, all at group I and partnered by Scott Seamer. The daughter of Kong Kong International winner Romanee Conti won eight races from 21 career starts and $4.75 million (Australian funds).

Ethereal will almost certainly succeed another wonderful daughter of New Zealand, Sunline, as Australia's Horse of the Year. Sunline is racing on for now and co-heads the weights at 128 pounds with Shogun Lodge for the $2.5 million Doncaster Handicap (Aust-I) at a mile of Randwick on March 30.