The Autumn Sun has been the spruik horse for a while, but his performance in Saturday’s Randwick Guineas took his reputation to the next level.
The horse looked all but gone at the 300-metre mark before spectacularly swallowing up the entire field and hitting the line just in time to take victory.
The immediate response was obvious: can he be the horse who’ll finally challenge Winx? Most importantly, will we even get the chance to see it at the track?
We spoke to our NSW analyst Mark Rhoden to get the view of somebody who does the form for a living:
I really thought The Autumn Sun was vulnerable first-up and was impressed that he got there, and then Saturday he put himself in an impossible position – or so it seemed. And he won again.
Something that’s slightly concerning for The Autumn Sun is getting into those “unwinnable” positions in the first place.
You could write if off first-up because he probably wasn’t wound right up. And I guess nobody was expecting Miss Fabulass to do what she did on Saturday, but McEvoy was at it for about 200 metres before The Autumn Sun really picked up. That’s why he was 100-1 at the turn – he’d been under riding for a while and hadn’t gone past a horse.
If he had that flat spot in a race against Winx… while she can take a bit of time to wind up too, her top speed is higher and she’d be running away.
For me neither run this prep from The Autumn Sun has rated particularly highly. Certainly, nowhere near what Winx can do.
It wasn’t The Autumn Sun’s best performance for mine. He rated higher in the Golden Rose in the spring, and highly in the Caulfield Guineas when he sat three-wide the trip and demolished them.
He’s probably got the capability to put in a performance that probably would be competitive with Winx… assuming that Winx isn’t at her very top.
One point to note there is that Winx’s absolute peak was two-and-a-half years ago in the 2016 Cox Plate. That race is the highest-rating performance we’ve got in our database, full stop. But even now she still performs at a level that’s better than any other horse that she races against.
She’s rising eight, but there’s been nothing wrong with her runs so far this prep. If she goes to another level again this prep, which she probably will, she’s still well ahead of The Autumn Sun in my opinion.
I think the only way it’d be a real race was if he was at his absolute top, and she wasn’t quite there or something when wrong.
If you were going to back The Autumn Sun against Winx, you really have to assume he’s got another couple of lengths up his sleeve on Saturday’s performance. He probably does have that, but she’d still have to be off a little.
You have to remember how good Winx is. Happy Clapper is a very, very good horse and really put it to her last week. She was probably a little out of her comfort zone, but still did it comfortably.
I’d lean to Winx at both 1500 metres and 2000 metres. If you asked me before Saturday I’d probably have said The Autumn Sun would be a better chance at 1500, but maybe he’s now even racing like he wants the 2000.
So I’d have to say Winx is still clearly the best.
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