Through the deeds of her Group 1 winning daughter SUNLIGHT and another headline-making offspring in SISSTAR this Spring, SOLAR CHARGED has become a star broodmare.
SISSTAR (pictured) gets a kiss and a pat from strapper Camille Piantoni following her Group 3 win.
On Oaks Day earlier this month, 3yo filly SISSTAR raced to victory in the $300,000 Group 3 Network 10 Red Roses Stakes.
The daughter of SOLAR CHARGED ran out an impressive winner in a display of sustained speed reminiscent of her year-older full sister, SUNLIGHT. Co-trainers Tony and Calvin McEvoy have now put her away with a possible tilt at the Group 1 Sangster Stakes at Morphettville in May on their radar.
In this feature, we unpack the SOLAR CHARGED story – a beautiful mare that we are grateful to own in partnership.
We’ve received plenty of questions about her from clients, friends, family, fellow breeders and media over the course of the Spring, so we put a selection of the most ‘frequently asked’ to one of our owners, Dan Fletcher.
How did Telemon come to be in the ownership of Solar Charged?
We purchased Solar Charged at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale in 2014. She had been added to the sale as a “Supplementary to the Supplementary Session” – a high profile mare consigned by her owner after the commencement of the sale. So that was unusual. It meant she wasn’t in the published catalogues and her pedigree was distributed as an A4 photocopy placed on the tables.
To that point, that sale had been frustrating for us as sales can be from time to time. We had agreed with Widden Stud to do something together if the right mare came up. We had identified a handful of nice prospects but we’d been beaten on each occasion.
My wife Rae and I were there until ‘stumps’ on the Friday night essentially preparing to depart empty-handed when our now dear friend Derek Field called me aside. Derek said, “We want to have a crack at Solar Charged. If we get her, would you take a share?” I’ll never forget it. All I said was, “In a heartbeat!”
Antony (Thompson from Widden Stud) did the bidding with Qatar Bloodstock’s David Redvers on the phone and they secured the mare for $650,000. There was strong competition for her and it might have been even stronger had she been in the main catalogue.
SOLAR CHARGED “Supplementary to the Supplementary” at the Magic Millions National Sale in 2014.
As a buyer, what made her appealing?
It was nothing too complicated. She was a great type and an exceptional performer plus was in foal to a stallion we knew and loved in SEBRING.
She was a Group 3 winner on her catalogue page but anyone who knew the mare realised she was a Group 1-class 2yo. Her early wins were explosive. She won by wide margins.
SOLAR CHARGED was Golden Slipper favourite for a long time, and there’s no doubt in my mind interference prevented her from being placed in her Slipper. Had that been on her record, she would have been quite a bit more expensive.
SOLAR CHARGED (pictured racing) was a high class 2yo in the season of 2009-10.
How did things unfold following her acquisition?
Things didn’t initially follow the script with SOLAR CHARGED. She already had a yearling and a weanling on the ground. We knew both would be exposed by the time we went to the sales with her progeny and obviously hoped they would be good performers. As it played out, neither did anything of great note on the racetrack.
This probably hurt our SEBRING filly a touch in the sales ring and didn’t do SUNLIGHT any favours either when we were selling her as a yearling. Both were really high-quality yearlings. They were still popular and sold nicely, but I just felt under different circumstances may have achieved even higher results.
After SOLAR CHARGED’s slow start as a broodmare, we needed some magic and the Widden Valley seems to have delivered. The SEBRING filly became a Group performer and is now an extremely valuable broodmare for her purchaser Emirates Park. She’s the only one we’ve bred where we couldn’t retain an interest.
The 2014 SEBRING x SOLAR CHARGED filly named ‘SHEIKHA’ sold for $350,000 at the Inglis Easter Sale to Emirates Park.
The 2015 ZOUSTAR x SOLAR CHARGED filly named ‘SUNLIGHT’ sold for $300,000 at the Magic Millions January Sale to McEvoy Mitchell Racing, Blue Sky Bloodstock and Aquis.
The 2016 ZOUSTAR x SOLAR CHARGED filly named ‘SISSTAR’ sold for $600,000 at the Magic Millions January Sale to McEvoy Mitchell Racing and Redvers Bloodstock.
The 2017 SEBRING x SOLAR CHARGED colt sold for $650,000 at the Inglis Easter Sale to McEvoy Mitchell Racing.
Next came the ZOUSTAR matings that produced SUNLIGHT and now SISSTAR!
I think it’s important to note SOLAR CHARGED was hand-picked to be mated to Zoustar. To get SUNLIGHT from that decision is such a credit to those involved. I don’t think there has been enough recognition of that.
I’m sure Antony Thompson and David Redvers aren’t worried about recognition when they look at their bank statements every time someone pays their ZOUSTAR service fee! But all jokes aside, I think it was a monumental feat. They gave their stallion incredible impetus through a mare that was specifically purchased to help launch him.
From our point of view, we’re glad to be a small page in the ZOUSTAR story. We own the farm (now Telemon) where he was foaled and raised. Then to go on and breed as well as be involved in racing SUNLIGHT who is his best performer isn’t any more than an incredible coincidence, but it’s still very rewarding to have that connection.
What can you tell us about SOLAR CHARGED’s unraced progeny?
She has a SEBRING 2yo (the mare’s first ever colt) that Tony McEvoy purchased at Easter and we’ve retained an interest. He’s a real specimen and at this early stage is in the stable’s leading group of 2yos.
Like everybody else with a nice baby, we hope he’s Golden Slipper bound. We’re in the process of naming him and he’ll trial soon (hopefully) and we may even see him at the races before Christmas.
We also have another colt coming through – a ZOUSTAR yearling which obviously makes him a full brother to SUNLIGHT and SISSTAR. He’s a lovely horse and will be offered at the Inglis Easter Sale and I’m sure will be a star.
(Above) The unnamed 2yo colt by SEBRING from SOLAR CHARGED at Tony and Calvin McEvoy’s Flemington stables in September.
(Above) Outstanding young stallion ZOUSTAR and his 2018 colt from SOLAR CHARGED both pictured in August 2019 at Widden Stud.
What about future matings?
People may be surprised to know SOLAR CHARGED is still only 12. So hopefully she has plenty left ahead of her. She had her first barren year last season which was simply a case of needing to get her back to earlier cover dates. She’s come off that exceptionally well and went in foal first cover to ZOUSTAR.
I don’t think we need to get too clever in our matings from here. She’s got quite an open pedigree and we could put her to any of the top stallions but as far as Rae and I are concerned we’re happy if SOLAR CHARGED and ZOUSTAR settle down and get married!
We’d be delighted if we can breed some nice fillies to keep with our partners and if there’s a colt or two that we sell (and hopefully stay involved in of course) then we’d be happy with that too! A lot can go wrong, so we take nothing for granted and we’re grateful for what she’s done.
Champion SUNLIGHT has a drink of Murray River water with her devoted part-owner Rae Fletcher at Tony and Jo McEvoy’s Murbko spelling property in May this year.