By Ray Hickson
The Autumn Sun is “ready to go’’, Zousain has “come back as a man’’, D’Argento “could win over any trip’’.
Trainer Chris Waller unleashes this talented trio, among a very strong team, at Rosehill on Saturday and, judging by his unusually bullish comments on his weekly stable update, is expecting big things from each this weekend and this spring.
They head an impressive back-up crew to the likes of Winx and her understudy Unforgotten as Waller bears down on the spring carnival.
Unbeaten Golden Rose favourite The Autumn Sun is having an unorthodox lead-up to the $1 million feature by resuming in the Group 2 $200,000 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) then dropping 100m to the Group 1 in two weeks.
“First-up 1500m is something to talk about but I’m happy with his fitness,’’ Waller said.
“He’s up and ready to go and, look out, he’s a very good horse.’’
The Autumn Sun, the shortest priced favourite at Rosehill with TAB at $1.95, hasn’t raced since claiming the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) during the Brisbane winter but has had two barrier trials plus last week’s unofficial jump out.
TRIAL REPLAY: No better sight in racing! WINX going through her gears in a jump-out today Royal Randwick, looking as magnificent as ever #GoWinx #winxhorse // Vision courtesy @skyracingau pic.twitter.com/SmbUTltTcv
— Winx (Official) (@winx_horse) September 1, 2018
“He’s a naturally athletic horse, he had a jump out with Winx last Saturday and wouldn’t have blown a candle out afterwards,’’ Waller said.
“He did a bit of work during the week and (it was) likewise, he’s a clean winded horse.’’
Waller’s big Spring Champion Stakes hope Dealmaker ($15) also contests the Stan Fox after a slashing first-up third in the Ming Dynasty (1400m) last month.
Whether Dealmaker has the class to beat The Autumn Sun at 1500m remains to be seen.
“There’s plenty of class about this horse and this is a nice race leading into the Gloaming in two weeks time,’’ Waller said.
“Not saying he can’t win but obviously the further he goes the better he will get.’’
Zousain, another talented colt, is on a collision course with The Autumn Sun come Golden Rose day and Waller has him pegged as a potential topliner.
One of three Waller colts in the Group 2 $200,000 Run To The Rose (1200m), along with Lean Mean Machine and Performer, Zousain ($4.20) has another unbeaten galloper in Graff to beat on Saturday.
He finished runner-up in the JJ Atkins and quietly won the 1000m trial at Rosehill on August 25, running a slick 10/88 from the 400m-200m (Punters Intel) while most eyes were on the grey flash Chautauqua.
“He’s a good colt and has really improved since his two-year-old year. He’s come back as a man and I think he’s the real deal,’’ Waller said.
“We’re coming out of a tough winter of growing conditions and I’d say three or four off the fence will be the place to be and he’s drawn to find that.’’
D'Argento runs third behind Winx at Randwick on August 18
Waller said Lean Mean Machine ($16) is a distance query first-up and will also head to the Golden Rose while Performer ($7.50) gained a “pass mark’’ for his first-up third in the San Domenico and should appreciate a more economical run from an inside barrier.
D’Argento carries Winx form into the Group 2 $200,000 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) from his gallant third behind the champ at Randwick on August 18.
The Epsom bound grey ($3.10) is considered the biggest threat to Everest favourite Trapeze Artist ($2.90) on Saturday and Waller seems unconcerned about him coming back 100m.
“He has a lot of speed this horse, he won his Group 1 over 2000m but that was on class alone,’’ he said.
“Like his dad (So You Think) I think he could win over any trip he’s put over. Soft track shouldn’t be a concern. Good draw, good jockey, good horse.’’
D’Argento showed he’d freshened up nicely with an exhibition gallop last Saturday and will receive 5kg from Trapeze Artist while Group 1 winning mares Shillelagh and Foxplay also represent Waller in the Theo Marks.
“His first-up run behing Winx was outstanding, had he had the run Winx did he probably finishes closer. That’s the best form going around,’’ Waller said.