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By Scott Gooley | Saturday, March 9, 2019


It takes a special kind of effort to dominate a card that boasts nine black-type races, including two Group 1 races, but as the crowd filed out of Randwick today, the only horse being discussed was The Autumn Sun.

Producing a stunning effort when coming from a seemingly impossible position in the straight to score, The Autumn Sun landed the G1 Randwick Guineas and, in an instant, confirmed himself as the new superstar of Australian racing.

“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 exciting part about this horse, is that he’s not fully mature yet.”

Not a bad endorsement from trainer Chris Waller who has Winx as a measuring stick and, before The Autumn Sun could return to scale, the question was already being asked – will he take on Winx?

Part-Owner and Arrowfield Stud Principal John Messara had stated in the past when posed the question that he didn’t want to be “the one to shoot Bambi” and have his colt possibly bring the great mare’s consecutive run of victories to an end.

Or, at that time last spring, was Messara more concerned of tarnishing The Autumn Sun’s record and potential stud value and simply offering a reason to avoid the Champion?

Surely, after today’s performance, Messara maybe a bit more accommodating of the idea.

If one of the most anticipated clashes on Australian turf were to take place and The Autumn Sun finished second – running second to the world’s best galloper would still read well on his CV and, you would imagine, have little effect on his stud fee.

Should he win, however, and defeat the mighty mare, that would read even better on his resume and add, significantly, to his value.

Both horses are currently nominated for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) which is held on the 13th April and worth $4M. The racing public, along with the Promotions Department of the ATC, are holding their collective breath in hope of what might be.



In Melbourne the three-year-old Filly Sunlight showed great sustained speed when leading throughout to claim the first of two Group 1 races on offer on the day – The Newmarket Handicap.

In doing so, Sunlight recorded her second Group 1 victory and matched the feat of champion sprinter General Nediym by winning the 2yo Magic Millions/Newmarket Handicap, in consecutive years.

“She’s an incredible filly,” trainer Tony McEvoy declared proudly in the winner’s stall.

“She keeps stepping up to the plate and the further she gets into her preparation, the better she gets. She’s proven to be a star before today, and she has confirmed it today.”

In the second of the Group 1’s, the Australian Cup, Avilius was expected by most to continue he’s winning form and, as the odds-on favourite, take out the 2000m feature.

It looked as though would be the case when the Godolphin runner got a split at the 300m and hit the lead. However, it was only momentary lead though with Harlem and Shillelagh coming away inside the final 100m to fight it out with Harlem getting the bob in on the line to claim consecutive Australian Cup victories.

It was also the first Group 1 winner for Jockey Jamie Kah who was understandably, overjoyed.

“He was so, so tough,” Kah said. “At the 200m I thought he was gone because he hit a flat spot late but he just kept coming and coming.”

“I knew I’d won and then thought I couldn’t have won until I saw Chris (Symons, post-race interviewer), trotting over to me.”

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