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Vale Trevor McKee.....

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One of racings true gentlemen ,I remember I always called him Mr McKee until forever then one day he said to me long after my apprenticeship finished,  Leigh no need for the Mr anymore Trevor is fine...a nicer bloke you would never meet and a true horseman and a damn good trainer...condolences to Steve and all the rest of the Mckee family....RIP Mr Mckee.

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Vale Trevor McKee, Sunline’s trainer

Vale Trevor McKee, Sunline’s trainer
Trevor McKee (left) returns to scale with Sunline, ridden by Larry Cassidy, after the 1999 Doncaster Handicap. Photo: Steve Hart. 
Clinton Payne
Article Author
Clinton Payne

On the eve of the anniversary of some of Sunline’s greatest performances, her trainer Trevor McKee has passed away after a battle with illness.

The Kiwi-based trainer retired from his training duties in 2006, handing over the reins of his racing operation to his son Stephen.

Last year Stephen spoke to Racenet about the health battles Trevor, then 81, was suffering.

“Dad had a stroke so it is hard for him to talk at the moment, communication wise it isn’t easy,” he said at the time.

“But he loves watching the races and going whenever he can.”

During McKee’s training career Sunline wasn’t the only top-class horse to pass through the stables.

Solveig, Auckland Cup winner Royal Tiara, and Wellington Cup winner Flying Luskin, Moonshine and Super Fiesta were some horses of note while he regularly campaigned in horses with success in Australia.

But it was the deeds of Sunline that McKee’s training exploits will be best remembered for.

Sunline retired in 2002 with 32 wins from 48 starts, 13 Group I victories which included two Cox Plates, two Doncaster Handicaps, two Coolmore Classics, two Waikato Sprints, a Group I win in the Hong Kong Mile and a Group II success in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes.

Her earnings of more than $11 million was at the time a record for a horse trained in Australasia before being eclipsed by triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva.

Click here to read a tribute to McKee by Sunline's regular jockey Greg Childs.

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Greg Childs: Sunline and Trevor McKee made me somebody special

Greg Childs: Sunline and Trevor McKee made me somebody special
Sunline and Greg Childs win the 2000 Cox Plate. Photo: Steve Hart 
Ben Dorries
Article Author
Ben Dorries

An emotional Greg Childs fought back tears as he told how Sunline and Trevor McKee “made me somebody special”.

Kiwi trainer McKee passed away on Friday after a health battle and you can read about that HERE.

Champion jockey Childs combined with Sunline in 33 races, winning 21 of them and together they won 10 Group 1 races, including two Cox Plates (1999, 2000), the 2002 Doncaster Handicap and the 2000 Hong Kong International Mile.

“There’s something I’d like to say – Trevor McKee and Sunline made me somebody special,” Childs told Racenet.

“Why is that? 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.”

Childs, who was deeply upset to learn of McKee’s passing, gave his own special and unique insight into McKee.

He told how he thought he had lost the ride on Sunline when he rode her in Hong Kong in December 1999, less than two months after the grand mare won her first Cox Plate.

Childs takes up the story.

“Sunline was due to run over 2000m in the Hong Kong Cup and when I rode her in a gallop on the Tuesday before Trevor said he wanted me to give her a good hit-out,” Childs said.

“I have her a good workout alright – I equalled the track record in an 1100m gallop and I totally overdid it.

“Trevor was OK but (his son) Stephen blew up and subsequently she ran an ordinary race in the Hong Kong Cup.

“I thought I would never get the ride back on Sunline but I rang Trevor before Sunline’s next campaign and I was quite hesitant asking for the ride.

“But he said no problems.

“That was the quality of the man.”

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Trev was a humble and modest man, without peer as a horseman and human being.

Despite his enormous success he never lost his sense of decency and kindness.

He had time for everyone, and he listened more than he spoke, but when he spoke we all listened.

Throughout his long illness Trev showed remarkable bravery, he suffered without complaint and worked until his frail body finally cried enough and refused to function.

In the tapestry of NZ Racing Trev was a golden thread, and whilst he may be gone his light will shine forever through his enormous achievements, not the least of which was the mighty Sunline.

Last week we got lucky at The Valley with our McKee trained horse in the Sunline Stakes.

I couldn’t help but think afterwards that Trev helped us get her there, and steer her around.

To Noelene, Stephen an the girls, we offer our sincere condolences.

You must be so proud of what your husband and father did and the example he set for you.

His giant shadow will be cast over you and give you comfort forever.

Rest easy now Trev, you’ve worked bloody hard, go have a long rest...and do me one last favour, ride Consensus in spirit for us next week and I’ll genuflect to you afterwards 

Love you Trev.

 

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RIP Trevor

It was an honour to have met you and talk with you on so many occasions.

You always had a greeting for us and a kind word. As others have said "A true gentleman" and I will add "One of life's good guys."

Sincere condolences to Noeline, Stephen and all the family.

Ted & Lynnda  

 

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As you look down on us all from Heaven.

Trevor , you'll always be within all  our Hearts. Sincere condolences to  Noeleen ,  Suzanne , Stephen and  Donna.

Until we meet again.

Rest In Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

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When I was a young fella and trevor was a trainer I never missed a meeti g.trev got to know my face and always stopped and said hello.i t was like the all blacks captain stopping a fan.i finished up racing a good pacer statesman with Trevor.81 too young for a man like him but he did it his way.

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1 hour ago, tim vince said:

When I was a young fella and trevor was a trainer I never missed a meeti g.trev got to know my face and always stopped and said hello.i t was like the all blacks captain stopping a fan.i finished up racing a good pacer statesman with Trevor.81 too young for a man like him but he did it his way.

Trevor was always good with a smile and a hello. Went through a time that his horses was a good punt in the last at Ellerslie.

My thoughts are with the family.

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RIP Trevor      

A great man.true gentleman and a top trainer.Sunline was lucky to have him as her trainer.

Condolences to the family.

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1 hour ago, High Sparrow said:

Absolute gentleman and top bloke who I had the pleasure of interviewing a number of times after big wins. Mr Tiz etc. He knew his horses like the back of his hand. RIP Trev. Deepest sympathies to the McKee family. 

Mr Tiz was trained by D.J O SULLIVAN in Matamata.

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We called him TJ, the Sunline Lodge staff called him Boss and if I wrote about him I called him The Legend.

He gave us all memories we will take to our graves.

Our thoughts are with Noeline and all the Family. And also all those close to TJ. There are long time staff, like Speed and Dave that loved the great man too and will so miss him.   Neil Miller

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Trevor’s first winner as a jockey was Dupion at Te Rapa on the 15/11/52 trained by Bill Winder. Second was Prince Hiwai ridden by Ian Medcale who sadly died last month. Trevor’s first winner as a trainer was Sunora in a Dargaville Highweight on the 27/11/59 ridden by Bill Barlow.

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