10/24/2001 12:00AM

Cox Plate pits Sunline, Silvano


Sunline, in search of her third consecutive victory in the Group 1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on Saturday, will be tested by Arlington Million winner Silvano.

With a value of $663,000, the 1 1/4-mile, 40-yard race is the eighth leg of the Emirates World Series and the only race in the series run in Australia. Trainer Trevor McKee's New Zealand-bred mare Sunline has won two of five starts since finishing a close third behind Jim and Tonic and Fairy King Prawn in the Dubai Duty Free, and McKee has her in peak form to meet the German challenger, Silvano.

Sunline's two victories came in the seven-furlong Group 2 Memsie Stakes and the 1 1/4-mile Group 2 Turnbull Stakes, in which she beat another Cox Plate rival, Universal Prince, by a head. But between those two races, Sunline was beaten a head by Northerly, who has since won a pair of Group 1's at a mile and at 1 1/4 miles.

Sunline is the 6-5 favorite with Australian bookies, while Northerly is listed at 9-4 (2.25-1).

Bettors Down Under have apparently overlooked Silvano, who was available at 6-1. Yet Silvano, an Andreas Wohler trainee, is the one they all have to beat. He worked well on Wednesday and looks ready for a repeat of his Arlington effort.