Sunline Set for Return

Last season, the New Zealand-bred Sunline started her spring campaign in the about six-furlong Manikato Stakes (Aust-I) at Moonee Valley. The daughter of Desert Sun won by more than three lengths from Honour the Name (by Royal Academy) and Miss Pennymoney (by Brocco).

Over the next 12 months, Sunline won another seven races including the BMW Cox Plate (Aust-I) by seven-lengths, and the Hong Kong International Mile (HK-I). Add in a second and two thirds (one behind Jim and Tonic and Fairy King Prawn in Dubai) and there you had her 11 starts for the season.

So it's no surprise people are interested in seeing what she's capable of on Saturday -- when she makes her return in the Manikato Stakes.

It'll be Sunline's first start in four months but Trevor McKee, for one, is confident she's looking better than ever.

"People think I'm kidding when I say she's bigger, stronger and brighter than last year," he said. "But she really is."

Another thing in her favor is that she hasn't been beaten fresh from a layoff -- ever. Nor has she been beaten at Moonee Valley. Things should be tougher this weekend though than in last year's race.

For starters Falvelon will be there. He was named champion sprinter in Australia last season and won the Hong Kong International Sprint (HK-I) just before Sunline did her thing in the Mile in December. He's had three trials this campaign to get ready and by all reports is looking good.

Then there's Miss Power Bird (by Mukaddamah). In her last race at Moonee Valley over the same distance, she won by more than three lengths. In her only other start there, she won by almost five. And her granddam is Benediction (Ire), the dam of Might and Power.

Also nominated for the race are the group I winners Diatribe, Desert Sky, Keeper, and Sports.