Group One mare Consensus made her presence felt in a hit-and-run raid at Moonee Valley on Friday night when prevailing in a tight finish to the Gr.2 Sunline Stakes (1600m).
The win was special for trainer Stephen McKee, given the race is named after McKee’s great champion whom he prepared in partnership with his father Trevor, but he admitted it was not in the original plans.
“The way it has worked out, it is just the race that fell for us and it just happened to be the Sunline Stakes, so it’s great to be able to get that one,” McKee said.
“We were actually going to go for the Ranvet in Sydney (Gr.1, 2000m), but it was too wet.
“She doesn’t seem to go on tracks that are Dead or maybe an early slow, so we decided to can Sydney and come here and it has worked out alright so far.
“We will make a few plans during the week. She is here until Saturday. We may even take her home and get her ready for Brisbane on fresher legs this year.”
Ridden by ex-pat Kiwi Michael Walker, Consensus was prominent throughout but proved an awkward ride.
“I actually went to Flemington this morning and trotted this girl around the bull tracks and she gave me a tremendous feel,” Walker said.
“I was in a bit of trouble going to the start, I couldn’t stop her and I was a little bit worried.
“The first 150m out of the gates I couldn’t stop her and then I was able to get some cover and she settled, but she was just on one rein the whole way.
“In the straight I felt she had more to offer but she was hanging in so badly that I had to keep stopping and straightening her.”
Consensus has bounced back to her best form this campaign, winning both the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) and Gr.3 Taranaki Cup (1800m) before placing at Group One level behind Melody Belle prior to her Moonee Valley triumph.
“I want to thank Stephen McKee and Leo (Molloy) who are good mates for giving me the opportunity to ride her.
“As we’ve seen, she is a classy mare, she has bumped into Melody Belle and she is even better over 2000m. It is a great honour to win a race named after Sunline.” – NZ Racing Desk