The Sun has risen!

$1 million South Australian Derby G1 winner Coco Sun is The Autumn Sun's third Group 1 Classic winner in the past three weeks. (PHOTO: Atkins Photography)

Coco Sun sealed a momentous three weeks in the career of her sire The Autumn Sun when she powered to a popular victory in Saturday’s $1 million South Australian Derby 2500m G1 at Morphettville.

She is The Autumn Sun’s third Group 1 Classic winner in the past 21 days, following Autumn Angel’s Australian Oaks G1 on 13 April and the trifecta compiled by Vibrant Sun, Private Legacy & Coco Sun in the Australasian Oaks G1 on 27 April. 

Such a sequence of elite successes within a three-week time-frame is rarely achieved. Arrowfield’s records show that Redoute’s Choice did it once, in 2014, and Snitzel has done it twice, when he recorded 4 individual Group 1 winners in March & April 2017, and again in 2021.

And with only two crops of racing age, The Autumn Sun joins Zoustar, Savabeel and Written Tycoon as Australasian-based sires of 3 or more individual Group 1 winners in 2023/24.

Coco Sun’s Derby triumph was predicted last week by jockey Jamie Kah after the filly’s Oaks placing. “She loved the trip and even further is going to suit her down to the ground.”

And so it proved. Kah rode the filly positively out of gate 8 and after 500 metres they were beautifully positioned, third on the rail behind multiple stakeswinner Air Assault & Tulsa King. 

The challenges began 1000 metres from home but Coco Sun kept rolling, held the rail and kicked up to lead at the 200-metre mark. She then drove clear to score by 1.3 lengths from the fast-finishing Warmonger with Air Assault third and New Zealand Derby G1 runner-up Antrim Coast fourth.

Kah, celebrating her first hometown Group 1 win, said, “It’s amazing. I had a great ride today…She jumped so well last time and I wanted to ride her the same. I was not worried about the 2500 metres at all. She finished off last start so well and was a real lion after the line and today she was so tough. She was feeling the pinch, but she was sticking her head out trying her best.”

A delighted Tony McEvoy, who trains Coco Sun with his son Calvin, said, “She’s a really good filly…she’s developed beautifully and she’s the most gorgeous filly. I’m very proud of her.”

He added that her campaign is not finished yet. “There’s five weeks now to the Queensland Oaks…so if she’s well, we’ll go to the Oaks.”

Unbeaten in two juvenile appearances including the Oaklands Plate LR at Morphettville, Coco Sun was 5th in both the Wakeful S. G2 and the VRC Oaks G1 last Spring, before resuming in March.

She has now won three of her four Autumn starts and a total of $836,000 prizemoney for her owner, well-known New Zealand businessman and former Test cricketer Terry Jarvis, whose silks have also been worn by Group 1 winners Hill Of Grace & Buzz Lightyear, and Group winners Rocha, Pure Theatre & Super Sequel. 

Coco Sun was The Autumn Sun’s second top-priced yearling sold at Inglis Classic 2022, where she was purchased for $250,000 from Tyreel Stud by McEvoy Mitchell Bloodstock and agent Belmont Bloodstock. (PHOTO: Tyreel Stud/Inglis)

Coco Sun was bred by the Monds family of Tyreel Stud from the city-winning mare Miss Hufflepuff (by Encosta de Lago), who is in foal to The Autumn Sun and was catalogued in the upcoming Inglis Australian Broodmare Sale, but has understandably been withdrawn.

With a current Australian season tally of 35 winners, including four winners of 7 Group races, and prizemoney of $5.1 million, The Autumn Sun is now 3rd on the Australian Second Season Sires’ Premiership and 5th on the 3YO Sires’ table.  

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