With three Group 1 victories, a Group 2 success and only one defeat in his first 7 starts, The Autumn Sun had already established himself as the season’s best 3YO colt.
Saturday’s $1 million ATC Randwick Guineas 1600m G1 appeared to be at his mercy, but racing is never that predictable.
When Miss Fabulass shot forward to take up the lead and ran a mid-race 600 metres in a breath over 33 seconds, The Autumn Sun was suddenly faced with a near-impossible task.
Rounding the turn, Miss Fabulass was pressured by Not A Single Doubt’s classy daughter Fundamentalist and Vegadaze, as Kerrin McEvoy peeled out four-wide and many lengths back on The Autumn Sun to launch what looked like a forlorn challenge.
Fundamentalist took the lead 350 metres out, attended by Vegadaze, with Surround Stakes G1 winner Nakeeta Jane 3 lengths away and The Autumn Sun 3 lengths behind her.
At the 200-metre mark Fundamentalist, a 4-time Group 1 bridesmaid, was taking no prisoners and, although The Autumn Sun was about to hit top speed of 66 km/hour, his chance of victory remained slim.
It was perhaps only 70 metres from the post that the colt’s raking stride and exceptional finishing speed finally made success certain, although it took another 60 metres to best the filly by a long head and stop the clock at 1:33.72.
The Autumn Sun ran his last 600 metres in 33:94 seconds – marginally faster than Winx’s 34:09 last 600m in the Chipping Norton S. G1, also on a Good4 track over the same distance at Randwick on 2 March.
“I’M A LONG WAY OFF THEM” – Jockey @KPMcEvoy told @bernadetecooper he had some doubts in the run before The Autumn Sun unleashed an amazing final 400m to win the Randwick Guineas. Trainer @cwallerracing was in awe of the performance when talking to Greg Radley. pic.twitter.com/ZWwdQnj79F
— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) March 9, 2019
World Horse Racing @WHR on Twitter summarised the statistical highlights of The Autumn Sun’s performance:
33m behind the lead
10m behind 150m out
22.52s last 400m
11.01s fastest 200m
THE AUTUMN SUN is special
Arrowfield’s John Messara concurred, describing The Autumn Sun’s performance as “the best thing I’ve ever seen on a racecourse” and, for the first time, declared him a champion.
The Autumn Sun represents everything that Arrowfield has worked to achieve and create over the past 35 years. Bred by Arrowfield’s joint venture with HH The Aga Khan, he is the best racing son of supersire Redoute’s Choice, while his dam Azmiyna is a Galileo half-sister to European Champion Azamour.
The Autumn Sun is a member of Arrowfield’s outstanding Yearling Class of 2017 and was purchased from the Inglis Easter Sale for $700,000 by Chris Waller Racing, Hermitage Thoroughbreds & Mulcaster Bloodstock. Arrowfield acquired a 50 per cent interest in the colt last October, before his 4.5 length Caulfield Guineas G1 win.
Arrowfield also co-bred and sold the only other horse to complete the Caulfield & Randwick Guineas double – Australian Horse of the Year Weekend Hussler, in 2007/08.
The Stud, which has sent 9 Group 1 winners to Inglis Easter since 2014, will offer The Autumn Sun’s three-quarter brother by Not A Single Doubt from Azmiyna as Lot 369 at next month’s Inglis Easter auction.