Sun shining on potential Group One hope

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  • April 24, 2024
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Sun shining on potential Group One hope

Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Progressive filly Moonlight Magic took a significant last-start step toward the goal of a third Group One winner for The Sunlight Trust with her breakthrough success at stakes level.

The boutique Waikato operation of Murray and Marg Hardy and Paddy Preston bred and races the daughter of Almanzor, who deservedly triumphed in the Gr.3 Championship Stakes (2100m) last Saturday at Ellerslie off the back of a string of strong black-type performances.

Trained by Andrew Forsman, she had been a luckless fourth in the Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2100m), a gallant sixth in the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m), fifth in the Gr.3 Sunline Vase (2100m) and third in the Listed Oaks Prelude (1800m).

“She showed us a lot earlier on and we had quite a lot of confidence in her and Andrew and his team have done a great job,” Murray Hardy said.

“In most of her runs she has been knocking on the door and it was just great to get that result, she hasn’t had a lot of luck in some of her big stakes races.”

Whether Moonlight Magic races on into her three-year-old campaign has yet to be decided.

“She has come home for a week and then we’ll get together with Andrew and decide what we do from here,” Hardy said.

“She has handled everything really well and we’ll just do what is best for her.”

Moonlight Magic is a daughter of the Encosta De Lago mare Japonica who is out of a half-sister to the three-time Group One winner Serenade Rose.

All four of Japonica’s foals to race have been successful and she has an unraced two-year-old by Belardo named Belardi.

“He is in work with Andrew and we’ve just weaned a Saxon Warrior colt off her and she’s in foal again to Almanzor,” Hardy said.

The Sunlight Trust previously savoured top-flight success with Gr.1 International Stakes (2000m) winner Veloce Bella and also bred High Chaparral’s Gr.1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) winner Princess Jenni, who was sold through Phoenix Park’s draft at Karaka for $120,000.

“We bred and raced Veloce Bella and she’s our foundation mare and we bred Princess Jenni and she (Moonlight Magic) could potentially be the next one,” Hardy said.

“Veloce Bella has an Armory filly, we were wanting a filly from her, and we will retain her and she’s been a marvellous mare.”

A daughter of Volksraad, Veloce Bella has produced a quartet of winners including the Group performer Walking Flying.

“We’ve got around 12 mares and we are focussed on building a quality broodmare band,” Hardy said.

“We’ve got a property at Ngahinapouri and we agist the mares out for foaling and so on.

“The mares and foals come back here after they are mated and we wean here and carry the weanlings through and source them out for yearling preps if they’re going that way.

“We make the ultimate decisions, but we also use a couple of consultants as well.”


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