Boom colt The Autumn Sun has defied a dramatic betting drift to keep his unbeaten record intact in the Group One JJ Atkins Plate at Doomben.
The Autumn Sun blew from an opening quote of $2.45 to start the $4 favourite before scoring by a neck from stablemate Zousain, who was heavily supported from $9.50 into $6.
“It was only his third start and to see him dig so deep showed just how smart he is,” trainer Chris Waller said on Saturday.
“It’s a Group One race with so much at stake and only certain horses can take that step so quickly and excel.”
The result in the 1600m race gave Waller his third one-two finish in Group One races during the winter carnival and his 13th at the elite level for the season.
Waller provided the quinella in the Doomben Cup with Comin’ Through and Egg Tart before another one-two finish in the Queensland Oaks with Youngstar and Another Dollar.
The Autumn Sun was Waller’s third win in the Atkins following victories by Pressday (2010) and Press Statement (2015).
The colt will have a short spell before Waller aims him at the spring carnival in Melbourne, where he will attempt to emulate the deeds of Press Statement, who won the Caulfield Guineas after his Atkins success.
“The Autumn Sun will be a 2018 Caulfield Guineas horse and I’d say Zousain will be kept to the shorter races like the Golden Rose and Coolmore,” Waller said.
“This carnival is great for horses coming through and it’s about gradually getting up to this Group One level and then they seem to springboard off it and catch up to other horses in the spring with confidence.”
Winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy believes the best is still to come from The Autumn Sun.
“It will be interesting to see where he gets to in the spring and he’s one I’ll definitely be keen to stay on the back of in the big races,” McEvoy said.
It was McEvoy’s third win in the Atkins following his victories aboard Juanmo (2001) and Benfica (2011