Passionate and committed Victorian breeder Christine Mills had one of the biggest thrills of her thoroughbred industry career when debutant Sister Sledge ran a slashing third in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes over the weekend.

In a very fast run race Sister Sledge, ridden by Glyn Schofield, sat perfectly outside the leader and travelled into the run easily finishing third with her nose on the tail of the winner.

While Christine and the Hollylodge team at Avenel have their fingers desperately crossed that she may sneak into the Golden Slipper field, it seems Group 1 juvenile targets in weeks following may be more likely for the Anthony and Edward Cummings trained filly.

Whatever the filly’s racing fortunes are over coming weeks and months, Christine clearly has a fondness for the filly going by her strong memories of her upbringing.

“In May 2013, I was at the Inglis Great Southern Sale looking at broodmares for a client,” Christine said.

“Amongst the multitude of mares, I inspected a couple of mares presented by Makybe and suggested that the mare named Unblemished would be a good buy. She had already had a couple of foals and was now in foal to the new stallion Stryker.”

However, the client did not consider the mare as having potential, so Christine watched the sale alone.

When Unblemished came into the ring, she was most surprised to see the mare go around for next to nothing, and although she did not plan to make a purchase herself, she couldn’t help but put in a winning bid for a modest $3,500.

Unblemished’s subsequent foal by Stryker, a colt eventually named Cyclone Stryker, was sold to a South Australian trainer and won two two-year-old races. Following foals, Frisky Cruiser (seven wins) and Metier (winner of the VOBIS Gold Eureka at Ballarat) also had a degree of talent.

This next foal was lovely, leggy bay Uncle Mo filly born.

“She was the perfect girl, doing everything right as she grew up,” Christine said.

Unblemished with Sister Sledge as a foal at Hollylodge Thoroughbreds in Avenel

The weanling filly was entered in the 2016 Inglis Great Southern Sale.

“I was happy to take her home and race if she did not get the reserve, but she was run off her feet with inspections and exhausted by the time of the sale,” Christine said.

Sister Sledge as a weanling at Hollylodge

She caused a minor bidding war between two big names and was eventually knocked down at $48,000 to Coolmore.

Chris kept track of the filly through her son Daniel and waited for the filly to be named and make her debut.

That debut of course for the filly, now named Sister Sledge, was on Saturday at Randwick in the Reisling Stakes.

Christine says the Hollylodge team was on edge as the race got closer.

Daniel was in Adelaide with the yearling draft at the Magic Millions sale while Christine and Peter were visiting their race fillies on the Mornington Peninsula (but made sure they stopped at a TAB to watch the race).

They were ecstatic with the performance, with Christine shaking with excitement trying to take a call from Daniel in Adelaide.

It had been a long road to buy Unblemished, breeder Sister Sledge and wait for her to get to the races, but the Group 2 placing on debut was tremendous reward.

Interestingly, the filly’s granddam was a Rubiton mare called White Mist – a Group 2 placed mare – something Sister Sledge has now achieved and is sure to better in coming months.

From a sale purchase of only $3,500 for the dam Unblemished and taking a chance on Uncle Mo, Chris and Peter have now certainly improved the pedigree of the dam for future breeding.

Everything achieved by the filly now is just a bonus for the hardworking team.

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