Reflections on Golden Rose Day

Rosehill on Saturday was all about very good colts as befitting the stallion making race of the Group 1 Golden Rose over 1400m with The Autumn Sun in full exposure over Zousain and Graff, with Thinkin’ Big talking the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes over 1600m in fine style on his own path to future Group 1 success.

The Chris Waller trained The Autumn Sun, for whom there must be short odds now on the colt eventually joining his sire Redoute’s Choice at Arrowfield Stud, was superior under Kerrin McEvoy in the Golden Rose.

No matter which way the measurement is made The Autumn Sun has stamped himself already on the industry. After just five starts he has two Group 1 victories to his record. The first in the JJ Adkins Stakes over 1600m at Doomben in June in his third start was good, Saturday’s victory was excellent.

The 1400m of the Rose is crucial to these early leading three-year-old’s as they come off 1200m, some make the extra distance, some do not. The path for The Autumn Sun was different, however, and it proved to be the making of the win.

His dam Azmiyna is by the stamina influence Galileo, hence he was able to win the JJ Adkins third up after progressing from Sydney wins over 1200m and 1400m. For the Rose Waller sent him out in the 1500m of the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes on September 8th instead of the traditional path of the 1200m of the Group 2 The Run To The Rose.

Third in the Stan Fox first up and not appreciating the Heavy 8 track the stable had no problem bringing the colt back to the 1400m of the Rose with Saturday’s Good 4 providing the right footing.

Nothing quite like watching an Autumn Sun in full glory picture,

The stamina influence came back on Saturday in two aspects. The Autumn Sun was sent wide by McEvoy from the rear so he covered additional ground which he coped with easily. Plus he was able to sustain a run from that rear position from the 400m.

The colt needed strength and stamina for that. To stamp that The Autumn Sun was the quickest runner, jointly with Graff, from the 400m to the 200m at 11.01, then he carried that speed on clocking 11.30 from the 200m to the winning post.

Second placed Zousain  had been brought smoothly into race from barrier one by James McDonald and at the 400m he was fourth, leading at the 200m and then overrun in the final 200m. He clocked 11.12 and 11.73 for those final sectionals.

Graff, one in front of The Autumn Sun at the 400m, matched that colt from the 400m to the 200m. Then he just could not make the 1400m, his stamina was peaking. Graff under Jason Collett ran quicker than Zousain over the final 200m at 11.64, but he was too far back to start the run to gather Zousain in.

The Autumn Sun’s sustained run gave him a final 600m of 33.56 over Zousain at 34.23 and Graff at 34.10.

Both Zousain and Graff have sprinting pedigrees, both have Group 2 wins to their pages, both have more to give on the short course.

The Autumn Sun has Derby pretensions Waller says and the pedigree page says he can make the 2400m, of the ATC Derby, which is the Derby Waller wants to aim for. Hopefully connections agree. Wherever he goes between now and then will be a sight to absorb and enjoy as he might not be long on the racetrack.

While the glamour lads were duelling over the Rose the Waterhouse and Bott trained Thinkin’ Big dominated the Gloaming Stakes under Tim Clark. The High Chaparral colt, with inherited good looks from his sire, basically shook the rest of the small field off and galloped off to a 2 1/2L win.

This was just his fourth race and he was all power and purpose. The Group 1 double of the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 6th and the Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 3rd are next.

Both speed, stamina and a lethal combination of both were on show before a crowd of 8,893, behind last year at 9,322 and ahead of 2016 at 8,483.

It is a big race the Golden Rose, it demands a build-up. However, for the moment at least there is too much emphasise and budget going elsewhere. The success on Saturday is the future racetrack success of the industry. In that respect certainly the industry is in fine health.

The big three, left to right, Zousain, Graff and The Autumn Sun, to the left is Sandbar, picture