Victorian jockey Jamie Kah wins first Group 1 on Harlem (GB) at Flemington and The Autumn Sun (AUS) impresses at Randwick


Victorian based jockey Jamie Kah won her first Group 1 with the David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig trained Harlem (GB) at Flemington on Saturday, March 10th, in the A$1.5, Australian Cup (2000m). It was also a remarkable defence by Harlem of his 2018 win in the Flemington WFA event.

Victorian jockey Jamie Kah salutes after her win on Harlem (GB), picture Quentinjlang.com
Victorian jockey Jamie Kah salutes after her win on Harlem (GB), picture Quentinjlang.com

Last year, Harlem won the Australian Cup at $61 and on Saturday, despite not winning or being placed in eight runs since that triumph, jumped at the lesser quote of $31 but once again he proved impossible to get by as he held off Shillelagh (NZ) and Craig Willams to win by a short-half head, with a length to the leader Trap For Fools (AUS) and John Allen in third place.

For Kah, the win was a ground-breaking one as at 23 years-of-age, she is on the verge of becoming an elite jockey in this country following her move to Melbourne just a few months back after dominating Adelaide racing for the past few seasons.

"That was just the best feeling in the world," Kah said after bringing Harlem back to scale.

"I thought he was a really good chance and Ben said he was the toughest horse and he would not give in and that is why he was out there."

Kah said the victory meant a lot to her so soon after her move to Melbourne.
"I did not expect anything too massive straight away," she said. "I worked really hard. I tried to go up to Euroa (Lindsay Park stables) whenever I could and it has paid off.

"They supported me in Adelaide in the past and now I have made the leap. I knew it was going to be hard, but I did not think that it would happen so soon," she said.

Another rising star for Australian racing was on display in Sydney at Randwick on Saturday where the Chris Waller trained three-year-old Redoute's Choice colt The Autumn Sun under Kerrin McEvoy stormed home in the A$1m, Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) to achieve what had seemed like an improbable victory 600m from the finish.

The Autumn Sun and Kerrin McEvoy, picture Sportpix.com.au
The Autumn Sun and Kerrin McEvoy, picture Sportpix.com.au

The race was set alight by head strong filly Miss Fabulass at the 1200m when in the words of her experienced jockey Jason Collett she ‘took charge’ and went to the front and off to a long lead.

McEvoy and The Autumn Sun were back third last and the calculations to the leaders almost immediately became vast and difficult as two other fillies, Nakeeta Jane and Fundamentalist, were dragged into a wide margin from the rest of the field as they chased Miss Fabulass.

At the 1000m The Autumn Sun was 12L behind the leader and then at the 600m it was 15L. Entering the main straight McEvoy took The Autumn Sun to the outside of the field racing in the middle of the track with the task of reaching the front seemingly still impossible with the margin 7L at the 400m.

Miss Fabulous tired and the fillies, who were first and second in the Group 1 Surround Stakes over 1400m last week, took over. McEvoy was working on The Autumn Sun and at the 225m the colt really started to stretch out.

With 100m to run the margin was still 3L, but then The Autumn Sun’s strides gathered in Fundamentalist and Sam Clipperton and right on the line the colt had his fourth Group 1 victory from just eight starts. It was an extraordinary finish from a colt showing his extraordinary talent.

The margin was a long head to Fundamentalist (Not A Single Doubt) and Clipperton with Nakeeta Jane (So You Think) and Josh Parr third, the margin 1L. Madison County (NZ) was fourth 1 1/2L away with Vegadaze fifth.

“If I didn’t train Winx I would not have believed that performance, but she probably desensitised the emotion of these big race wins. That was a glimpse of what she can do and I will not say any more about her. Full credit to this horse. He is the next Australian star and I can only tell you how good he is. You’re seeing it but he is a very, very, good horse,” said Waller.

“What an effort by this colt. He needed to be outstanding today and he was. He was brilliant. I knew my fellow was going to really finish strong and that is exactly what he did. He ate up the big spacious Randwick straight and really flew the last bit,” said McEvoy.

“He is (a superstar) for sure. He walks along like a dressage horse now. He has got a great temperament and it is going to be great to see him race on, or I’d like to see him race on,” he said.

The Autumn Sun is by Redoute’s Choice out of the Galileo mare Azmiyna from one of the great families developed by the Aga Khan. He is co-owned by Arrowfield Stud and the Hong Kong basedHermitage Group. After his seven wins and a third from eight starts he has earned stakes of $3,138,121.

Next up for Waller will be discussions with the connections on the path forward for the valuable colt. The options include either retiring to stud, or racing on for a possible attempt at the Group 1 WFA Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in October or even travelling to Hong Kong and the UK for international competition.