The brightest Sun at Rosehill

5 min read
Chris Waller's patience with The Autumn Sun has yielded the colt's owners Hermitage Thoroughbreds one of the most valuable prizes in Australian racing,

Chris Waller has practiced patience every step of the way with The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice) and he is urging more of the same when it comes to assessing the future of Australia's newest equine superstar.

Waller has always believed in The Autumn Sun's prodigious talent, which was on show for all to see as he charged home from last to claim the G1 Golden Rose S. and confirm his status as Australia's best 3-year-old.

Having beaten boom 3-year-olds Zousain (Zoustar) and Graff (Star witness), he is now 'made' as a stallion, especially when you consider that every colt to have won this race since it became a Group 1 nine years ago is now standing at stud.

His worth is now measured in tens of millions and it is arguable that anything more he can do on the track would not add to that.

The waiting game

Waller's mantra of patience was a significant factor in Saturday's success.

As a $700,000 yearling, the expectation could have been for The Autumn Sun to target the Sydney 2-year-old riches.

But it was only after four trials across two preparations that Waller elected to debut him on ANZAC Day this year. After winning on debut, he then won a Saturday 2-year-old race before progressing to the Group 1 JJ Atkins S. at just his third start, where he was again successful.

"As Bart Cummings used to say, patience is the least expensive, but the least often used thing." - Chris Waller

The Autumn Sun was a $700,000 yearling purchase

"I just think it is more proven to not rush your horses," Waller said.

"People talk up Golden Slippers, which are fantastic... but looking after your horses, as Bart Cummings used to say, patience is the least expensive, but the least often used thing."

Waller was left in an envious position over the final 200m of the race as it became clear that one of his two colts, Zousain (Zoustar) or The Autumn Sun was going to win.

Zousain, with the luxury of the inside barrier, had settled much closer in transit as compared to The Autumn Sun, who went back to last from his wide barrier in his first start in blinkers.

"When the draw came out he was 11 of 11 so it wasn’t going to be easy but I’d rather him there because I know how good he is and for him to finish off over the top of a good field it was pretty special,” Waller said.

“I thought the stablemate was home, he looked every bit of his dad Zoustar surging to the front in the same race but I think he might have been beaten by a pretty special one.”

Derby dreams

Hermitage Thoroughbreds have made no secret they want to win a Derby with The Autumn Sun.

"He is a Derby horse and the owners are hellbent on winning a Derby so that obviously comes first and foremost. His value, however, has fortunately skyrocketed again today. He’ll have a price tag now and maybe he can tick the box of winning a Derby as well,” Waller said,

It's not been a fashionable choice for Golden Rose winners. The last horse to win this race and contest the Victoria Derby was Manawanui (Oratorio {Ire}), who was a gelding, in 2011, while no horse has completed the Golden Rose/Australian Derby double since Fairway in 2000 when this race was known as the Peter Pan S. and run over 1500m.

The Autumn Sun winning the G1 Golden Rose S.

"The owners are hellbent on winning a Derby so that obviously comes first and foremost," -Chris Waller

Waller thinks the Flemington race might come too soon and will urge Hermitage, who are managed by Oliver Koolman, to hold their fire until the autumn.

“I’ll be pushing not to rush him to the spring Derby because it’s so quick, it’s a long way for a young horse. So we’ll see who gets a good say, the owner or the trainer.” The Autumn Sun winning the Group 1 Golden Rose

Class and power

'Special' was a word also used by jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who collected his second win in the race having won on Denman (Lonhro) in the first year it was a Group 1 back in 2009.

"He’s a special colt. He’s taken all before him up in Brisbane and was desperately unlucky last start first up but well played to Chris and the team - they put blinkers on him today," McEvoy said,

"He had to do it all, he was still last at the 300m but what a powerful engine he’s got. To do that in what I really think is below his best trip shows how classy he is.”

Kerrin McEvoy and Chris Waller

"To do that in what I really think is below his best trip shows how classy he is," Kerrin McEvoy.

“You can argue that some of those (rivals) are six or seven furlong colts at their best trip where we really feel this horse is a miler-2000m. I think that’s where his future lies but a stunning colt to ride.”

“He’s got a great attitude and a great temperament and I’m thrilled to be on his back.”

The Autumn Sun is now a short-priced favourite for next month's G1 Caulfield Guineas, where he will be looking to create history as the first horse to win both 3-year-old stallion-makers.