John Messara (Image: Bradley Photographers)
The Autumn Sun finished out of the placings for the second trial in a row on Monday, but managing part-owner John Messara is far from concerned, claiming the colt was firmly on target for a February 23 return.
The colt, who is the most valuable racehorse in Australia following wins in the Golden Rose and Caulfield Guineas last spring, finished fourth, beaten 3.4 lengths behind fellow colt Zousain at Rosehill over 1000 metres for jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who later gave Messara an encouraging report on the colt.
"I haven’t spoken to the trainer yet but the jockey was quite satisfied," Messara, who is the principal of Arrowfield Stud, said on Monday.
"He’s a horse that retains his best performances for race day. He’s not a super flash worker or a big trialler. He’s super relaxed.
"I can only go on what the jockey said and he got off and said ‘I’m pretty happy’."
The Autumn Sun is due to run first-up in the Group 2 $400,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on February 23 before his attempt on another classic – the $1 million Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 9.
"That’s the plan and I don’t see any change at the moment," Messara said.
The winner of the trial was Zousain, who is coming off a small setback that ruled him out of this Saturday’s Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington.
Other winners of note at the trials include the Godolphin colt Tassort, who is favourite for next month’s Golden Slipper Stakes as well as the unbeaten three-year-old Brutal.