The Autumn Sun rises against adversity

4 min read
There were plenty of reasons that could have been offered if The Autumn Sun was defeated on Saturday but the fact the classy colt was able to overcome those obstacles showed why he has already been secured for stud duties by Arrowfield Stud.

By Michael Cox

Rarely is there a sense of anticipation for a returning star as there was with The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice) ahead of Saturday's G2 Hobartville Stakes. But there were also a ready-made list of excuses should Australian racing's king-in-waiting be defeated.

First-up over 1,400m, facing rock hard fit horses on an unsuitably sodden track was enough to consider it a challenge, but when a less the ideal race set-up left The Autumn Sun spinning his wheels when asked to sprint at the 600m, the Rosehill crowd could sense an upset.

"But great horses overcome all of that, they find a way of winning." - John Messara

John Messara following The Autumn Sun's G2 Hobartville S. win

"But great horses overcome all of that, they find a way of winning," said a relieved Arrowfield Stud boss John Messara after the superbly bred colt, born on his farm but sold as a yearling and then secured as a stallion prospect last spring, showed his class. "I was nervous heading into the race because the conditions weren't ideal but he didn't let us down. He has broken 34 seconds for his last 600m and only a top class horse can do that on a track like that. He had to run a sectional like that because they walked early."

It was an in form and fit horse The Autumn Sun was chasing, with the Anthony Cummings-trained Vegadaze (Lope De Vega {Ire}) hunting four wins straight this preparation and rated well in front by Tim Clark.

The Autumn Sun still spotted the leader at least two lengths and was fifth of six at the top of the straight but, once balanced up by Kerrin McEvoy, the colt let down and devastated rivals with his trademark sprint.

Waller's warning

The Autumn Sun's trainer Chris Waller had two words of warning for the horse's rivals next start in the G1 Randwick Guineas in two weeks: "watch out".

"I really want to see some pressure on up front in a Randwick Guineas and that's when you will see his best." - Chris Waller

The trainer's confidence comes from the fact The Autumn Sun was able to produce in a slowly run race on wet ground, conditions not conducive to his style.

"I really want to see some pressure on up front in a Randwick Guineas and that's when you will see his best," Waller said. "Obviously running on a pretty wet track was testing. It probably took a little bit of that brilliance away, but watch out when he gets back on a good track next start. You see it with a lot of good horses, you won't see their best unless there is pressure up front, so it was good to see him sprint that last 600m pretty quick."

The perfect, model racehorse

A $700,000 purchase for Hong Kong interests through Hermitage Throroughbreds from the Arrowfield draft at the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, the Autumn Sun has now won six of seven including three G1s.

"He is unlucky not to be unbeaten throughout his career," Waller said. "He ticks all the boxes. He is very unlucky not to be unbeaten. He has the best attitude, the best looks, the best athleticism. He is the perfect model racehorse."

"He has got the ability to be anything."

Plans beyond autumn?

Neither Waller nor Messara would be drawn on what the plans for The Autumn Sun could be after the Randwick Guineas but the horse has been inoculated for travel and the G1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June a possible target.

"He is the perfect horse to take on the world, " Waller said. "But there is some business to take care of in the autumn first."

"He has won Group Ones in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, and he has done it over three preparations now and hopefully there is four and five as well if we talk nicely to the Hong Kong owners."