Autumn Sun v Winx clash loses momentum
A clash between The Autumn Sun and Winx is probably a longshot now after the colt's Rosehill Guineas win wasn't quite that of a three-year-old ready to challenge the great mare.
The Autumn Sun, racing's $50 million colt, won again - but only just.
It was widely expected The Autumn Sun would dominate his rivals in the Group 1 $600,000 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) but instead the colt had to fight harder than ever before to win.
The final margin was only a head, just as it was in the Randwick Guineas.
But this wasn't a spectacular performance like Randwick, it wasn't the win of a three-year-old ready to challenge Winx in the $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes on April 13. That clash is a longshot now.
Instead, it was The Autumn Sun winning on pure courage, heart and determination - and these are often very under-rated qualities in a racehorse.
John Messara, part-owner of The Autumn Sun, initially looked like a man who had just watched his horse lose. Then came the realisation that this was an enormous effort by the superstar colt, his eighth win in nine starts and his fifth at Group 1 level.
"The Autumn Sun didn't enjoy the ground, he didn't enjoy one ounce of that race, but he just toughed it out and that is what the really good horses do, they find a way to win,'' Messara said.
The Autumn Sun ($1.40 favourite), ridden by Kerrin McEovy, became the first horse to win the Caulfield Guineas-Randwick Guineas-Rosehill Guineas treble but he made those punters who took the short odds sweat before he edging out a very persistent Arrogant ($26) with Chapada ($26) two-and-a-quarter lengths away third.
When asked what was next for The Autumn Sun and was he keen to race Winx in the Queen Elizabeth, Messara paused before replying: "I start off on the premise that I don't think there is a horse on the planet that can beat Winx."
"I'm not keen to take her on at the moment but you never make decision on raceday. I wouldn't make any judgment on what happened today.''
Chris Waller, who trains both Winx and The Autumn Sun, also wouldn't be drawn on a possible clash between his two stable superstars in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
"Sometimes you don't always get the two best teams into the Grand Final,'' Waller said.
"Where we go from here is up to the owners to decide if he races on or whether he goes to stud.
"I get the importance of the horse's value. I get the people at home, the people coming to the races and the media how they want these great horses racing.
"We've got to give the owners some support but whatever decision they make but it would be great to see him back."
Waller revealed there was plenty of discussion about whether to race The Autumn Sun on the heavy track.
"Mr Messara is a good sportsman and that's why the horse was here racing,'' Waller said.
"There was concern earlier in the week whether he should be running on a heavy track because he's still young and not a horse that's fully matured.
"It's through his (Messara) sportsmanship that we brought him here and he's a very good horse.
"That was a good test the last 200m. The inside horse was laying all over him but he just didn't lie down. He's a really tough horse. We were really testing him today over 2000m and only a champion comes out like he's done and he's done it."