Sunline Back in Winning Form

Sunline has been a gal who has everything, more than $8 million in the bank (Australian funds), a couple of Cox Plates (Aust-I) and an adoring audience.

This campaign she hadn't also lacked for critics, after just one win to show from her past five runs, starting with the loss in Dubai. It's the tall-poppy thing, where the media loves to build them up and then cut 'em down. And the blades had been out.

But not only are they sheathed after Sunline came out and won the Turnbull (Aust-II) wire-to-wire on Oct. 6, their owners are probably wearing disguises. Sunline's co-trainer with his son Stephen, and senior part-owner, Trevor McKee, dismissed the ante-post press speculation after his charge had beaten a storming Universal Prince by a length at the end of the 2,000 meters of Flemington. Another distaffer, Primrose Sands, held on gamely for third 11/2 lengths away after being closest to the 5-4 favorite most of the way.

After a tirade over what had been written about the champion 6-year-old's supposed vulnerability, McKee settled into his usual mild-mannered self, adding that although he didn't agree with the speculation it was "all forgotten now."

Usual rider Greg Childs said the mare had improved a good deal in condition since her defeat by Cox Plate rival Northerly in the J F Feehan Stakes (Aust-II) on Sept. 15.

Childs allowed Sunline to set the pace for the first time in the current campaign and she won superbly well to advance her earnings to $8.4 million. She won't race again until her three-peat shot at the Cox Plate on Oct. 27.