GOING FOR GOLD: Emerald-owned filly Sunlight has the Fletcher family's eyes firmly fixed on the Golden Slipper trophy this weekend.
GOING FOR GOLD: Emerald-owned filly Sunlight has the Fletcher family's eyes firmly fixed on the Golden Slipper trophy this weekend. Contributed

Slipper is in sights

THE Fletcher family led by Rae have packed their bags and are off to the bright lights of Sydney for tomorrows Golden Slipper.

Their star filly Sunlight confirmed she's worthy of being the ruling 3/1 favourite for the Golden Slipper when extending her unbeaten run to five in the $175,000 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill last Saturday.

The daughter of Zoustar is unbeaten since a third placing on debut in the Maribyrnong Plate Trial, with wins including the Magic Millions two-year-old classic, Silver Slipper Stakes and last Saturday's Group III feature.

Already at the top of Golden Slipper Stakes markets, Sunlight's quote trimmed further following the victory and markets now have her listed as a clear $3 favourite for tomorrow's $3.5 million feature.

Generally the Magic Night Stakes can be a "last chance Saloon” for Golden Slipper aspirants seeking to qualify for the two-year-old feature just a week later, but for Sunlight the timing has been deliberate.

Already qualified and a ruling pre-post favourite, trainer Tony McEvoy has plotted a similar seven day back up en route to the Golden Slipper that was successful for the filly when she won the Magic Millions.

Connections weren't interested in the punting side of Saturday's race. Sunlight was as short as $1.35, and Dan Fletcher, when asked about the race said "odds on look on”, but he admitted he was more than a little nervous.

"It was a bizarre feeling going into a race under those circumstances. She was expected to win, so there was nothing to gain in a way and a lot to lose, so the nerves are a bit different,” he said.

"She was a bit too keen in the run, and when Setsuna took her on they were low flying. They carved out one of the early sectionals in 10.3 on a soft track apparently, so it's not surprising she peaked a little bit the last 100m.

"The other filly that tried to soften her up is still coming, so once again Sunlight's proved she's unusually tough. I thought the colt in the next race was very good, and he proved he's a real competitor.

"The Slipper is a deep race with a number of other genuine chances. Sunlight will have to settle better if she's going to win.”

Sunlight led all of the way under Luke Currie to win by 1-1/4 lengths. She recorded a time which was about three lengths slower than Written By in the following race, as he was fully extended to hold off the Brad Widdup trained Sandbar.

Jockey Luke Currie said "she was fast, a bit on the fresh side so that should take that edge off her heading into next week”.

"We went pretty quick through the middle stages and did get a bit tired late but I think she was entitled to. She'll be hard to beat next week,” he said.

Rae Fletcher said "the thing we've come to learn with this filly is she is tough, and when the chips are down she tries her heart out”.

"In my wildest dreams I never ever would have thought I'd be looking on from Emerald watching a star on the big stage,” she said.

"Even if she never wins another race I'll be forever grateful for the joy and excitement this gorgeous filly his given my family.

"I just love her, and I can't wait to see her and the wonderful people that look after her.

"I get to share Golden Slipper day with my family, and win lose or draw, Sunlight will always be the star in our sky.”

Tomorow sunlight will jump from barrier five with second favourite Written By drawn immediately to her inside in barrier four.

Rae Fletcher couldn't wipe the smile off her face following the draw.

"I'm bloody happy I can tell you, it makes our jockey's Luke curries job a little easier with the near perfect draw,” she said.


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