TO BE SURE: Kevin O'Keeffe, Father Raj and Stan Priddle enjoyed the iconic Springsure St Patrick's Day Races.
TO BE SURE: Kevin O'Keeffe, Father Raj and Stan Priddle enjoyed the iconic Springsure St Patrick's Day Races. Trina Patterson Photography

Paddy's Day races a hit

SPRINGSURE Racetrack came alive for the 67th edition of the Saint Patrick's Day meeting on Saturday with a top day of country racing served up.

President Terry Hoare was ecstatic with the crowd in attendance and also said the club was extremely happy with the day's racing.

Racegoers who were on course celebrated strongly, embracing the Irish theme and emphasised their gratefulness to all the people and sponsors who make this iconic Central Highlands race day happen.

The main event on Saturday was the $10,000 Springsure Bracelet over 1100 metres which was won by Bevan Johnson with his tough-as-teak mare, Exstratum, ridden to perfection by Mick Nakao.

Exstratum sat just off the pace to run away for a widening 11 length win from stable mate, Spur with Ease, ridden by Clermont apprentice Emma Bell.

Exstratum has amassed 18 wins and 29 placings for the Johnson stable and has won more than $140,000 in prizemoney on country racetracks.

Dan and Rae Fletcher's superstar sprinter, Sunlight, kicked off a weekend they won't forget in a hurry with Sunlight turning on a sustained burst of speed to add the Group 1, William Reid Stakes to her bulging Group 1 resume.

Last Friday night, Sunlight sent out a red hot $1.70 odds-on favourite after having to work hard to claim the lead after burning off fellow three-year-old Written By.

She ran four lengths clear into the home straight before eventually saluting by three quarters of a length to the fast-finishing Spright with Ellicazoom in third.

The victory was Team Fletcher's third Group 1 success with Sunlight following her last-start win in the Newmarket Handicap and her Coolmore Stud Stakes win at Flemington last spring.

Emerald owners Dan and Rae Fletcher said Sunlight was now truly one of the sprint stars of Australia and hoped there would be more to come.

Friday night was Sunlight's 10th win from only 15 starts which has reaped more than $4million in prizemoney already.

Fletcher said Sunlight would now head to Sydney for the $2.5million TJ Smith Stakes on Champion's Day to strengthen her position as arguably Australia's best sprinter.

In a weekend for the ages, Dan and Rae Fletcher couldn't believe their luck when Godolphin filly, Kiamichi, led throughout to win the $3.5million Group I Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.

Telemon Thoroughbreds, which is owned by Dan and Rae, took over the stud management of Kiamichi's sire, Sidestep, last year at their new operation in Innisplain, Queensland.

The Fletchers lease the stallion from Godolphin. It is a massive coup to have a Group 1 winning stallion at their thoroughbred breeding establishment and a massive coup for breeders in Queensland having a group 1 stallion at their disposal.

Fletcher said the win of Kiamichi was what dreams were made of and a dream result for his stallion, Sidestep, which would push him on to bigger and better things.


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