Barend Vorster celebrates Sunlight's win (Image: Racing Photos)
Tony McEvoy didn't know much about Barend Vorster when he received his application to ride for his stable, but the trainer was glad he went with a hunch and hired him after he partnered super filly Sunlight home to win the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on Saturday.
Vorster officially became tied to the McEvoy stable just last week when he took his first ride on the unplaced Bring Me Roses in the Blamey Stakes after making his move from Singapore.
Sunlight was just his second ride in this country and he's already a Group 1 winner of one of Australia's most famous races.
"That's a pretty good start," said a delighted Vorster. "She's got some sort of motor this filly. She was a joy to ride."
Despite winning the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes over the same course in the spring, Sunlight was sent out a $13 chance and she held three-quarters of a length over the late-flying Osborne Bulls ($4.20 fav), with a short-half head to Brave Smash ($26) in third place.
Sunlight led for the entire journey to become the first three-year-old filly to score in the famed straight race since Alinghi in 2005.
WATCH: Sunlight's win
McEvoy explained he knew little of Vorster but was willing to take a chance on the 41-year-old after doing a little research into his history.
"When he read that Jamie Kah and I were splitting he was the first to apply," McEvoy said. "I couldn't spell his name for a start.
"I knew that he came out of South Africa and he rode (Singapore champion) Rocket Man. That's pretty much all I knew about him.
"When I looked into him I thought 'wow'. I wanted someone to replace Jamie who was equally as good if not better and so I was happy to find him. To come here and handle an occasion like today was great."
WATCH: Hear from McEvoy
As for Sunlight, a trip to Adelaide this autumn now seems likely to be cancelled with races like the G1 Sangster Stakes and G1 Goodwood now likely to be overlooked in preference for a shot at the richest sprint in Australia - the $2.5 million T.J. Smith Stakes.
"She keeps stepping up to the plate," a proud McEvoy said. "The further she gets into her prep, the better she gets.
"I know she only had 50.5 kilograms but she is a three-year-old filly and they were touting it to be one of the best fields and she's proven to be a star before today and confirmed it today.
"What an amazing ride she's given us."
From just 14 starts, Sunlight has now returned $3.8m in prizemoney.