Star colt lights up Randwick with stellar performance

6 min read
Incredibly talented 3-year-old The Autumn Sun put on a dazzling display, showing every inch of his brilliance and determination by chasing down the fillies in the G1 Randwick Guineas.

The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice) added the G1 Mostyn Copper Randwick Guineas in remarkable style to his burgeoning CV, now boasting four top-flight victories and seven wins from eight appearances, and with almost unerring certainty the promise of more to come.

“It was breath-taking, what an effort by this colt,” Kerrin McEvoy said. “He needed to be outstanding out there and he was - just brilliant.”

The Autumn Sun is bound for the second stage of his career at John Messara’s Arrowfield Stud, who bred the star with the Aga Khan Studs and sold him at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale for $700,000 to the Hong Kong-based Hermitage Thoroughbreds.

“It was breath-taking, what an effort by this colt.” – Kerrin McEvoy.

Back in the spring of last year, Arrowfield made a move to buy back into the exquisite youngster and since then he has triumphed in the G1 Caulfield Guineas, the G2 Hobartville S. and a stunning victory in the G1 Randwick Guineas.

The Autumn Sun in full flight

“I’d given up, well and truly given up,’’ Messara said. “I turned around to Jon Freyer mid-race and said to him ‘can’t possibly win from there. I think he’s a champion, that’s what I think.’’

Olly Koolman, representing part-owner Hermitage, has known for a long time of The Autumn Sun’s qualities.

“The comments have been positive from the day he was broken in,’’ Koolman said.

“You can hear that a lot, but when it keeps on coming with a flow of confidence out of the stable, we’ve felt pretty good from a long way out.

Breathtaking finish

The Autumn Sun looked to have found himself in an almost impossible position and many lengths from the leaders after Miss Fabulass (Frankel {GB}) poured the pace on 600 metres from home to break the field up.

The Chris Waller-trained colt was back in third last spot, 10 lengths off the leader, so rider McEvoy had to get busy. The response from Australia's best 3-year-old colt was electric.

“I thought I’ve got to get into this, I was too far back,” he said. “There was a bit of a scrimmage at the 1000, but he was in a nice rhythm.

“They were really putting the race on from the half-mile and from the 600 I was a long way off them.”

“I thought I’ve got to get into this, I was too far back.” – Kerrin McEvoy.

It was then McEvoy really had to ask the question of The Autumn Sun and the colt was a willing partner.

“At the 400 I had to ask for the supreme effort and that’s exactly what I got,” he said. “I was back and just had to be patient and hope the others don’t run it out strongly.

“I knew my fellow was really going to finish strongly and he really flew the last bit. He’s a great horse.”

One of the stars

McEvoy, who’s ridden more than his share of top quality thoroughbreds over the years, was rightly effusive of The Autumn Sun.

“He’s a superstar for sure. He walks along like a dressage horse. He’s got a great temperament and it’s going to be great to hopefully see him race on. I’d certainly like him to race on.”

The Autumn Sun’s herculean performance wasn’t lost on Waller either.

"If I didn't train Winx I wouldn't have believed that performance," Waller said. "She has probably desensitised the emotion of these big race wins.

"If I didn't train Winx I wouldn't have believed that performance.” – Chris Waller.

"That was a glimpse of what she can do and I won't say any more about her.

"Full credit to this horse. He's Australia's next star and I can only tell you how good he is. You're seeing it but he is a very, very good horse."

The Autumn Sun with Kerrin McEvoy aboard

Messara wouldn’t be drawn on The Autumn Sun’s immediate future, saying decisions weren’t made on race day. Waller was of the same opinion and the inevitable question of a clash with his stablemate Winx (Street Cry {Ire}).

"The exciting part about this horse is he's not mature yet," Waller said.

"That is the next question you have to ask 'do you want an immature horse taking on the world or be around for a bit longer?' It's a great thing to be thinking about."

A rare combination

The Autumn Sun is a gilt-edged stallion prospect with a rich mix of pedigree, performance and conformation.

His domestic performance will have breeders at the top end of the market salivating and also has international appeal as son of the Aga Khan Studs' mare Azmiyna (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

She is a half-sister to the multiple Group 1 winner Azamour (Ire) and the G2 Curragh Futurity S. winner and G1 National S. placegetter winner Arazan (Ire) (Anabaa {USA}). It is also the family of the G1 Longchamp Prix Ganay winner Astarabad (USA) (Alleged {USA}).

For the runner-up’s connections, it was another case of so close but yet so far for Fundamentalist (Not A Single Doubt). She looked to have the race in safe keeping half-way down the straight after shooting clear.

"She has been beaten five times at G1 level this season,” said Lindsay Park senior trainer David Hayes.

"She is a great filly and she has stretched maybe the best colt we have seen in years, so we are pretty happy. She is ticking along alright."

"She has been beaten five times at G1 level this season.” - David Hayes.

The finish of the Randwick Guineas, with The Autumn Sun chasing down Fundamentalist

Nakeeta Jane (So You Think {NZ}) backed up strongly from her G1 Surround S. victory and the Kiwi-year-old Madison County (NZ) (Pins) did a fine job to get fourth money after coming from the tail-end of the field.

Trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman were behind the eight ball going into the race with a failed sale resulting him missing a start in the G1 Herbie Dye S. As a result, the two-time Group 1 winner hadn’t raced for six weeks.