Magic Millions winner Sunlight has strengthened her grip on the Golden Slipper with a stirring victory at Rosehill over Estijaab.
There was a neck between the two fillies in Saturday’s Group Two Silver Slipper (1100m), with the pair clearing out from the pack in the straight.
The Hawkes Racing-trained Estijaab started the $2.05 favourite in what was her second start with the more experienced Sunlight at $2.90.
Trainer Tony McEvoy’s son and assistant trainer, Calvin, was relieved and excited with Sunlight who had not raced since her triumph in the $2 million Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast on January 13.
“She is a true professional,” McEvoy said.
“She was all class today and has acclimatised well to Sydney and the humidity.
“This race was full of classy horses and one we might look back on in six months and say that was the case.”
Sunlight firmed from $6 to $4.60 for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper on March 24, while Estijaab lost no admirers with the TAB bringing her in from $8 to $5.
Tim Clark, who filled in for Melbourne jockey Luke Currie who was riding at Caulfield, was impressed with Sunlight’s win.
“She is very sensible and came back underneath me nicely,” he said.
“There’s probably not a lot between the two fillies but she (Sunlight) has still got improvement in her.”
Brenton Avdulla got to the lead early on Estijaab but found himself being attacked by Neutrality, with Sunlight just behind that pair until the home turn.
“She was good. She got driven mad by the other horse,” Avdulla said.
McEvoy said he and his father would follow the pattern they used with Sunlight in the lead-up to the Magic Millions by running her the week before the Slipper.
“She will run in the Magic Night the week before the Slipper,” he said.
“She has shown how effective she is on the week back-up.”
Sunlight has now had five starts. Her only defeat came in her first when she ran third in the Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington in October.