The Autumn Sun opens as favourite for the Golden Eagle

Chris Waller-trained The Autumn Sun has been installed as the Golden Eagle favourite.

IT didn’t take long for the online bookmakers to frame a market for Australia’s newest marquee race after The Autumn Sun was installed as the $2.80 favourite for the Golden Eagle.

The Golden Eagle, a $7.5 million race for four-year-olds only, is set to be run over 1500m at Rosehill Gardens next year on November 2.

Online bookmaker Sportsbet has the Chris Waller-trained colt at the head of affairs with Graff, Miss Fabulass,Roheryn and Zoustain all on the second line of betting at the $9 quote.

While having a share in the winner’s cheque would be enticing to most, Arrowfield Stud principal John Messara said the Golden Eagle isn’t going to change The Autumn Sun’s pathway towards a tilt at the 2019 Cox Plate.

“I’d say the ones below him (The Autumn Sun) might consider that race but he’s in a slightly special situation in that he’s proven himself superior to his own age group – significantly superior – and we’re hoping that’s reinforced in the new year and they he will be aiming for weight-for-age success so he has a pretty clear route as to where to go,” Messara said.

“Yes the (Golden Eagle) money is very attractive and the race would be easier to win than the one he’ll be going in probably because it’s only got one age group, but for stud purposes, winning against all ages is probably a better underpinning to where he’s going.

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“From a long-term point of view, proving-up of the horse and going to a weight-for-age race where you take on all ages, is probably going to provide a better benchmark as to where the horse stands historically against other three and four years that have raced.

“A horse like The Autumn Sun, who has won the (Caulfield) Guineas and the Golden Rose and who hopefully comes back and contests the Randwick Guineas among other races in the autumn, he’s trying to scale heights in terms of reputation and we’re not overly chasing the money as it were.

“We are chasing the reputation and achievements against all comers.”

The Autumn Sun is the $6 favourite to win next year’s Cox Plate at online bookmaker BetEasy.

Many believe that this new race will help keep promising stud horses on the race track rather than the breeding barn but Messara has a different theory.

“What I think it might do, rather than stop horses going to stud – I don’t think necessarily that will be the prime thing – I think it might stop horses being sold to Hong Kong and Asia and that can only increase the depth of quality of our horses.

“If you have a really valuable horse that would stand at a fee of somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000, I don’t think it (Golden Eagle) would have an impact,” he said.

“The ones they are buying from Hong Kong, they are buying the progressive horses that at three have shown something and they are going to be good four-year-olds, but we’ve lost them.

“Making it four-year-olds only has a special purpose and I think the purpose is to keep the horses in training that might have otherwise been sold to Asia.