The Chris Waller juggernaut notched up its 13th Group 1 of the season when The Autumn Sun produced a brilliant performance to claim the J J Atkins Plate (1600m) at Doomben on Saturday.
The Autumn Sun gave jockey Kerrin McEvoy his third victory in the 1600-metre feature with a neck win over stablemate Zousain with Fundamentalist in third place, a further 1-1/2 lengths away.
McEvoy won his first J J Atkins 17 years ago on the Alan Bailey-trained Juanmo before winning it a second time aboard Peter Snowden’s Benfica in 2011.
Waller admitted to having nerves before the race and was relieved to win the J J Atkins for a third time himself following Pressday’s win in 2010 and Press Statement in 2015.
“A little earlier in the day I was thinking about things that could go wrong,” Waller said.
“This was only his third start and to see him win like that shows just how smart he is.”
Waller’s quinella was his fifth in feature races during the Brisbane winter carnival and he now plans to target the Melbourne spring with his pair.
“They’ll both go for a break now and get ready for the spring,” he said.
“Zousain will be kept for shorter races while The Autumn Sun looks a real Caulfield Guineas horse.”
Meanwhile Gai Waterhouse collected her second Brisbane Cup when Sedanzer outclassed her rivals in the 2200-metre Group 2 feature.
Ridden by Tim Clark, Sedanzer hit the front soon after straightening and went on to down Anton En Avant by 2-1/4 lengths with Kiwia, a similar margin away, third.
Waterhouse, who now co-trains with Adrian Bott, won her first Brisbane Cup with Tullamore in 2011.
Her father the late Tommy Smith won the Brisbane Cup six times when it was run over 3200 metres at Eagle Farm.
Bott indicated Sedanzer would be reserved for the Melbourne spring after posting her eighth win from 18 starts.
Sedanzer was sent north with the Brisbane Cup her main mission after winning last month’s Listed Scone Cup and was a game third in Queensland debut in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup at Doomben two weeks ago.
“Barriers made a big difference with her today,” Clark said.
“She drew wide at her previous start and had to go back. They ran along at a good temp in this and she dragged her way to the front and was never in doubt”
Chris Waller, picture Sportpix.com.au