Racing mourns loss of Sunline’s master trainer
TREVOR McKee, famous as the trainer of the champion mare Sunline, passed away in New Zealand on Friday at age 81.
McKee suffered a stroke late last year and had been battling poor health in recent months.
A former jockey and one-time New Zealand Army cook, McKee was a renowned horseman who prepared more than 1200 winners during his training career.
The standout was Sunline, winner of 32 of her 48 races, including two Doncaster Miles in 1999 and 2002 and two Cox Plates in 1999-2000. She was three times Australian Horse of the Year.
McKee also trained Solveig, Royal Tiara, Flying Luskin and Super Fiesta before retiring in 2006. He continued to help out his son, Stephen, at the stables before suffering the stroke.
"Dad was good at it because horse training is hard work and he never minded hard work," Stephen told New Zealand reporters on Friday.
"He would go anywhere to win a race, especially in the early days, often driving those long hours in the float himself.
"He was old school and liked to do things his way because he never shirked that work."
McKee is survived by wife Noeleen and children Suzanne, Stephen and Donna.
Jockey Greg Childs, who rode Sunline in 33 races, told racenet.com.au: "Trevor McKee and Sunline made me somebody special. I was a good rider but they elevated me to being somebody special, especially at Moonee Valley but all over Australia and New Zealand.
"Everywhere I go in Australia and New Zealand everyone wants to stop and talk to me about Sunline and Trevor McKee."