The Autumn Sun shines brightly in the Golden Rose

The Autumn Sun won the $1m, Group 1 De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday with the Chris Waller trained Redoutes Choice colt under Kerrin McEvoy coming down the outside of the track from the rear.

McEvoy had settled The Autumn Sun last from barrier nine as Danawi and Jay Ford took the field across the top at a decent pace. Santos and Sandbar followed while $2.90 favourite Graff and Jason Collett were fourth last and racing one out.

On the turn the field spread across the track with Zousain and James McDonald towards the inside, Graff and Collett on the very outside and The Autumn Sun and McEvoy working to the outside of Graff.

By the 300m The Autumn Sun had accomplished his position as the widest runner, if still last. Zousain had taken the lead and Graff was winding up with The Autumn Sun behind and outside. Graff’s run faltered fractionally and Zousain was still leading and looking the winner.

Then The Autumn Sun arrived in the final strides to snatch the lead from his stablemate for his second Group 1 victory. The power of the run by The Autumn Sun left no doubt that he was the best colt of the leading trio and he looks to have an enviable future ahead.

                                                   James McDonald on Zousain checks The Autumn Sun and Kerrin McEvoy to his outside, picture                                                        

The margin was a short neck with stablemate Zousain (Zoustar) and McDonald 3/4L ahead of Graff (Star Witness) and Collett. Sandbar was fourth in a strong effort with Lean Mean Machine fifth.

The time was 1.22.24 on the Good 4 track with the final 600m in 34.81. The Autumn Sun paid $4.20 on fixed odds and $4.40 on the tote.

“He is a very good horse, as you saw. When the draw came out he was 11 of 11 so it wasn’t going to be easy but I would rather him there because I know how good he is. For him to finish off over the top of a good field it was pretty special,” said Waller.

“I thought the stablemate (Zousain) 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.

“I was thinking ‘please Kerrin get to the outside’ early in the race. In the last 200m you don’t care - they’re my boys and it’s pretty special to see them fight out the finish.

“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 will have a price tag now and maybe he can tick the box of winning a Derby as well.

“I will be pushing not to rush him to the spring Derby because it is so quick, it is a long way for a young horse. So we will see who gets a good say, the owner or the trainer,” he said.

“He is a special colt. He has 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. He had to do it all, he was still last at the 300m but what a powerful engine he has got. To do that in what I really think is below his best trip shows how classy he is,” said 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 is where his future lies but a stunning colt to ride.

“He has got a great attitude and a great temperament and I am thrilled to be on his back,” he said.

The Autumn Sun has had just five race starts. He won his first three in succession including the Group 1 JJ Adkins Stakes over 1600m at Doomben in June. He resumed with a third to Tarka in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes over 1500m at Rosehill on September 8th on a Heavy track that the colt did not appreciate.

The Autumn Sun, out of the Galileo mare Azmiyna, is raced by the Hermitage Syndicate managed by Oliver Koolman. A $700,000 yearling purchase the colt now has immense value for a stud career as well as stakes earnings of $1,113,021.

                                                                                                                Kerrin McEvoy and Chris Waller, picture

Golden Rose, photo finish picture ATC

What the beaten jockeys said:

Tye Angland (Lean Mean Machine): “With the run that I had I thought on the point of the corner that he was going to be hard to beat if he brought what he brought last start. Second up perhaps he was a little bit flat.

James McDonald (Zousain): “I thought he was home, I couldn’t here anything coming but then, The bloody Autumn Sun with Blinkers on.”

Jason Collett (Graff): “He raced really keen. Probably too strong to see out a strong 1400m. When he quickened he was good but it was a bit short lived.”

Corey Brown (Sandbar): “He ran super. At this stage of his career, he might just be a length to a length and a half off those horses who beat him today.”

Tim Clark (Santos): “He probably didn’t have a hard enough run last week at 1100m. He found himself outside of the leader in a high pressure 1400m today and just got found out late. I’m sure he can bounce out of this though and improve a lot.”

Jay Ford (Danawi): “I had to do a little bit of work to find the front. He travelled well but has probably come to the end of his prep.”

Tommy Berry (Tchaikovsky): “I was in a nice spot early but I had James (Zousain) edging me out from the 700m. He didn’t appreciate that and he failed to finish. It was a little bit disappointing.”

Damien Oliver (Seabrook): “She was really disappointing. I’m wondering if she is starting to show the effects of a long two-year-old season. We’ll get her home, see how she pulls up and make an assessment then.”