Here comes The Sun…

Autumn Ballet wins the Black Opal S. G3 with her ears pricked and a handy margin on her stablemate The Years. (PHOTO: Bradley Photos)

It’s been a watershed weekend for The Autumn Sun who has posted his first stakeswinner and first Group 1 performer from his first 6 2YO runners.

News of Autumn Ballet’s decisive two-length victory in the $200,000 Black Opal S. 1200m G3 rippled quickly across social media on Sunday afternoon.

The filly is the first debut winner in the 50-year history of the Black Opal which has previously been won by Group 1 winners Trapeze Artist, Criterion & Epaulette.

Jockey Tim Clark said, “She’s a very good filly to come here and be able to win on debut…I think we’re only just really scratching the surface with her at the moment.

“She’s a lovely filly, got a lovely temperament…it’s a bit scary to think where she could end up.”

In the short-term that’s likely to be in the field for the $1 million Percy Sykes S. G2 on 8 April, Day 2 of The Championships.

Autumn Ballet was bred by Arrowfield from the Street Cry mare Grisi, a half-sister to three Group winners including Albrecht (by Redoute’s Choice), all out of a full sister to Champion racehorse & sire Lonhro.

She was purchased for $340,000 from Arrowfield’s Inglis Easter 2022 draft by her trainers Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, with Bruce Slade’s Kestrel Thoroughbreds, and she is raced by Nick Vass, Francis Kennedy, Phil Ward, Geoff & Jan Bacon, Gaz n Baz Racing, Susan Smith, Andrew McClure, Steven Burgess & Peter Henley.

Arrowfield’s 2023 Inglis Easter consignment includes a full sister to Autumn Ballet. The champion son of Redoute’s Choice has a total of 
30 yearlings catalogued for the Sale. 

Little more than 24 hours before Autumn Ballet’s Group win, The Autumn Sun’s New Zealand-based daughter Tulsi finished an excellent third in Saturday’s Diamond S. 1200m G1 at Pukekohe Park.

The race was won by the unbeaten colt Tokyo Tycoon from two-time winner Ulanova, both considerably more experienced than Tulsi who became The Autumn Sun’s first winner at her 6 February debut. 

Described as a “superstar filly in the making” by her trainers Johno Benner & Hollie Wynyard, Tulsi (ex Talimena by Lonhro) was bred by Walker Racing & Bloodstock and offered at last year’s Inglis Classic Sale by Valiant Stud. She was secured  for owner Gary Harding by Glenn Burrows with a final bid of $550,000 – the top price paid for a filly at the Sale.

Tulsi’s next target is likely to be the Manawatu Sires’ Produce S. G1 at Awapuni on 1 April.

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