Group 1 Classic trifecta for The Autumn Sun

Class & courage in abundance - Vibrant Sun, Private Legacy (left) & Coco Sun (centre) lead home the Australasian Oaks G1 field & give The Autumn Sun a rare Classic trifecta. (PHOTO: Atkins Photography)

Saturday’s magnificent $1 million Australasian Oaks 2000m G1 trifecta by The Autumn Sun’s daughters Vibrant Sun, Private Legacy & Coco Sun sparked celebrations well beyond the Morphettville track in Adelaide. 

Arrowfield’s John & Paul Messara and their team in Sydney & Scone are justifiably proud of their home-bred superstar colt, now the sire of two Group 1 Oaks winners in a fortnight and 6 Group 1 performers from his first crop. 

A search through race records confirms the rarity of Oaks, Guineas or Derby trifectas by a single stallion in Australian & New Zealand history with only two found in the past 40 years: the 1986 New Zealand Oaks G1 (by Sir Tristram’s daughters Royal Heights, Empire Rose & Eau d’Etoile) and the 2010 Australian Derby G1 (by High Chaparral’s sons Shoot Out, Descarado & Monaco Consul). 

Sir Tristram and High Chaparral are two of the greatest Classic sires ever to stand in Australasia. 

Michael Kent Jnr, who prepares Vibrant Sun with Mick Price, summarised the quality of the filly’s performance. “Third-up, 2000 metres, straight to the front, it was a huge win. She missed a run in the Auraria when she had a little setback, so it’s a massive job by the whole team at home. She was there to be beaten. It was a huge effort. Awesome result for everybody.”

A last-start Group 3 winner on 23 March, Vibrant Sun took up the early running in the Oaks and set a solid pace, with New Zealand Oaks G1 winner Pulchritudinous and Coco Sun in close attendance. 

Rounding the turn, Vibrant Sun clearly had plenty in hand and she extended strongly for Mark Zahra, as Coco Sun rallied to threaten in the final 150 metres, and Private Legacy wound up to produce the fastest final 200 metres. Only the smallest of margins separated the three fillies in a dramatic finish, with the favourite, Tasmanian Oaks winner Wings Of Song 4th and Pulchritudinous 5th.

The fillies behind them included the New Zealand Oaks placegetters Positivity & Qali Al Farrasha, Group winners Serasana & Queen Of Dragons, Listed winner Quickster and another promising filly by The Autumn Sun, The Autumn Belle whose rider Beau Mertens said, “Good run. Wide barrier and had to go back. She picked her way through and ran a good race.” 

The yearling Vibrant Sun, now The Autumn Sun’s second first-crop Group 1 winner. (PHOTO: Canning Downs/Magic Millions)

Bred and offered at Magic Millions Gold Coast by the Barnes family’s historic Queensland farm Canning Downs, Vibrant Sun is the second foal of Group 3 and multiple city winner Vibrant Rouge (by Written Tycoon). She was purchased for $260,000 by agent and part-owner Sheamus Mills with the Mick Price & Michael Kent Jr stable.

Bred in partnership by Arrowfield & Hermitage Thoroughbreds, Private Legacy (ex Private Secretary by Husson) was a $90,000 purchase by her trainer Greg Hickman from Arrowfield’s Magic Millions National draft. She raced commendably in the NSW Princess Series last Spring, and has made good progress this Autumn over 1600 and 2000 metres.

Jockey Craig Williams said of Private Legacy, “Very game in defeat. It was a super run. We were trying to manage her first time under pressure going left-handed today…Great run.”

Coco Sun (ex Miss Hufflepuff by Encosta de Lago), a $250,000 buy from breeder Tyreel Stud’s Inglis Classic draft by trainer Tony & Calvin McEvoy and Belmont Bloodstock, won both her 2YO starts including the Oaklands S. LR, and as a Spring 3YO was 5th in both the Wakeful S. G2 & VRC Oaks G1. She resumed in March to score over 1400m at Sandown, then over 1600m at Bendigo before her return to Adelaide for the Oaks. She and The Autumn Belle are nominated for next Saturday’s South Australian Derby G1.

Coco Sun’s rider Jamie Kah said, “She loved the trip and even further is going to suit her down to the ground.”

The Australasian Oaks result added almost $800,000 to The Autumn Sun’s season earnings, propelling him into third spot on the Australian Second Season Sires’ table with $4.5 million prizemoney and three winners of six Group races in three States: Autumn Angel (Australian Oaks G1, Kewney S. G2, Ethereal S. G3), Vibrant Sun (Australasian Oaks G1, Alexandra S. G3) & Autumn Ballet (Silver Shadow S. G2). 

The Autumn Sun (7th) also joins his barn-mates Dundeel (1st) & Snitzel (4th) among the top 10 3YO Sires.

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