The Autumn Sun returns to scale after victory in the Gr.1 Golden Rose (Lisa Grimm)
You can buy a lot of things with $700,000. A house, a yacht, a Rolls Royce, a BIG diamond … a Golden Rose winner.
The difference is that the house, yacht, roller or bling won’t appreciate by up to 40 times the original purchase value in the space of just 18 months.
Behold racing’s newest superstar, The Autumn Sun.
Leading into Saturday’s Group One DeBortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes over 1400m at Rosehill Gardens, The Autumn Sun was considered something special: and rightly so with three from three as a 2YO, including the Group One JJ Atkins Stakes in Brisbane back in June.
Indeed, many consider the colt should still be unbeaten as he had no luck when resuming on 8 September in the Group Two Stan Fox Stakes over 1500m at Rosehill Gardens, eventually running a fast finishing third behind Tarka.
But the Golden Rose was something else and The Autumn Sun quickly stamped himself Australia’s premier 3YO with a barnstorming finish to grab Zousain right on the wire (unfortunately for the Qatar Bloodstock owned, Zousain, he also had to take second billing to The Autumn Sun in the JJ Atkins).
The Autumn Sun is now likely to head toward the Group One Caulfield Guineas over 1600m on 13 October, for which he has been installed an overwhelming pre-post favourite. From there, it would appear, the sky is the limit.
Trained by Chris Waller, The Autumn Sun was purchased by leading agent, Guy Mulcaster – on behalf of Hermitage Thoroughbreds – for $700,000 at the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.
A 250 acre property at Camden, south west of Sydney, Hermitage Thoroughbreds is owned by Hong Kong interests and managed by Olly Koolman who, by any standards, has had quite the year.
“Hermitage Thoroughbreds has just the one broodmare and only races eight to 10 horses at any given time, but has produced the winners of six Group One races in the last two years,” Koolman points out. “The Autumn Sun’s won two, Egg Tart won the Schweppes Oaks and Queensland Oaks, Summer Passage won the Sistema Stakes in New Zealand, and good old Willie Cazals won the Livamol Classic as a 9YO.”
(Koolman also purchased, on behalf of Arthur Inglis, the 2018 Group One Queensland Oaks winner, Youngstar, who ran an unlucky third behind Noire in Saturday’s Group Two Shannon Stakes).
Olly is the son of Anton Koolman, a Champion 3-Day Eventer for New Zealand and leading bloodstock agent who famously purchased Caulfield-Melbourne-Australian Cup winner, Let’s Elope, and a host of other Group One performers.
“Full marks to both Chris (Waller) and Guy (Mulcaster) for selecting The Autumn Sun at Easter,” Koolman reveals. “Dad was in hospital at the time recovering from a stroke and while a lot of buyers head to Easter looking for Golden Slipper winners, we were after something capable of getting over a trip and Guy and Chris were right on the money with The Autumn Sun.
“Even then Chris managed to get a Group One with the colt as a 2YO! Chris has really been prepared to be patient with this horse and it’s entirely up to him as to where he goes to from here.
“There has already been considerable interest to stand him at stud and I have to keep upping the insurance! Adding even more to his value is that the colt would be a walk up start to shuttle: his (3-time Champion Australian) sire Redoute’s Choice has produced a lot of very good horses in the northern hemisphere after shuttling for a few seasons, while The Autumn Sun is from one of those great Aga Khan families: being closely related to Champions like Azamour and Group One winners such as Astarabad.
“However, I would still like to think there is still a fair way to go for this horse: Chris has never pushed him and he owes us nothing. A lot of well bred colts head off to stud early for a variety of reasons but we’re determined there will be no unanswered questions by the time he ends up in the breeding shed.
“We really think he’ll get out over a distance and he’s such an exciting horse for everyone … we certainly don’t want to miss out on the entertainment.”
(Waller and Mulcaster also secured The Autumn Sun’s ¾ sister – by Snitzel – for $1.3 million at the 2018 Australian Easter Yearling Sale, just a fortnight prior to The Autumn Sun’s debut).
Meanwhile, Hermitage’s Egg Tart, last sighted running a gallant third to Winx in the Group One George Main Stakes, is due to line up in Saturday’s Group Two Hill Stakes over 2000m at Royal Randwick before a tilt at the Group One $5 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup over 2400m on 20 October, while Youngstar is poised to take on Winx in the Group One Seppelt Turnbull Stakes over 2000m at Flemington on 6 October on the way to a potential clash with Egg Tart in the Caulfield Cup.
“We’ve got a busy few weeks ahead, but all very exciting!,” Koolman adds.
HOOFBEAT: Koolman travelled to Queensland on three successive Saturdays in May and June to watch Youngstar win the QTC Oaks, Egg Tart the Group Two PJ O’Shea Stakes and The Autumn Sun in the JJ Atkins and was on hand to collect the Golden Rose trophy on Saturday, along with a wheelchair bound, but ever-smiling Anton Koolman. Might pay to keep your eye out for Olly on a racetrack near you this spring!