After a spring in which he cemented himself as the star three-year-old in Australia, The Autumn Sun’s much-anticipated return has followed the script at Rosehill.
The nation’s most valuable colt came from last to win Saturday’s Group Two Hobartville Stakes (1400m) as the $1.55 favourite, overhauling previously unbeaten Vegadaze ($3.70) by a long neck.
Described by Chris Waller as the perfect horse, the triple Group One winner was much more relaxed than his trainer or Arrowfield Stud boss John Messara who has a major investment in The Autumn Sun, who will eventually stand at his farm.
When that will be is yet unknown with the Group One Randwick Guineas (1600m) the only other race so far on his carnival agenda.
“It’s hard to make up ground today on the soft track and he has done what he had to do,” Waller said.
“Yes, I was a bit nervous. You always are when they are coming back for their first start of a campaign.
“He’s not at his top yet. He had two trials and he didn’t win them and people were questioning him but that’s how we prepare our horses.
“He is a horse with the greatest temperament. He is so relaxed. He is just the perfect horse and ticks all the boxes.
“And he is just going to get better.”
Messara has backed away from suggesting a potential clash with champion stablemate Winx and is wary of travelling the colt to Royal Ascot in June.
Waller said The Autumn Sun had been inoculated, just in case the ownership group, which also includes Anton Koolman’s Hermitage, decide to go to England.
The Autumn Sun is by champion stallion Redoute’s Choice and will stand at Arrowfield as a replacement for his ageing sire who is now on restricted duties.
“I was pretty nervous before the race,” Messara said.
“The only race we are looking at now is the Randwick Guineas. We have not discussed anything past that and of course there are risks involved travelling horses.
“We’ll get the next race out of the way first.”
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy said the pace of the race was against him which enhanced the win.
They were dashing in front of me as I was asking him to quicken up,” he said.
“He just kept coming at them. He was always going to get them but his best 100 metres was his last 100.
“He’s looking for a mile, maybe even further. It was a good win and I couldn’t be happier.”
Vegadaze will again meet The Autumn Sun in the Randwick Guineas with trainer Anthony Cummings thrilled with his effort against a colt considered the benchmark three-year-old.
“I think we will go to the Guineas based on that” he said.
“It took a special horse to beat him. Vegadaze has further improvement in him and so does the winner.
“But I think we can give it a go.”