Sunline makes history at Australian awards

New Zealand champion Sunline made history in Melbourne on Tuesday evening when she was admitted to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame and named Australia's Champion Racehorse for the third consecutive year.

The six-year-old mare was one of twenty inductees to the Racing Hall of Fame, established by the Australian Racing Museum last year to honour the great horses and people of the Australian turf. Fittingly, Sunline was inducted alongside the greatest mare bred in Australia, Wakeful; two other New Zealand-bred champions Rising Fast and Might And Power; and the incomparable sprinter Manikato. They join the inaugural inductees Carbine, Phar Lap, Tulloch (all bred in New Zealand), Bernborough and Kingston Town.

Two other New Zealand horses and a Kiwi trainer were among the fourteen recipients of the end-of-season awards presented by Racing Victoria and the Australian Racing Writers' Association. Ethereal was named Radio Sport 927 Champion Stayer and St Steven took out the Champion Jumper award and Sheila Laxon, the darling of the Spring Carnival, was a very popular winner of the Personality of the Year title. Ethereal was bred by her owners Peter & Philip Vela, while St Steven was bred by Bryan Kerr of Wellington.

Among many emotional and humorous moments on a glittering night of celebration it was appropriate that 85-year-old Hall of Fame trainer George Hanlon should have the last word. Asked to name the highlight of his career he said simply "Winning." And so say all of us.

- Susan Archer


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