The Awesome Son storms home from last to win at The Valley

The Awesome Son beginning to show glimpses of awesome brother

By Ben Caluzzi

Paul Lofitis, managing owner of Lofty Thoroughbred Group, purchased The Awesome Son for just $32,500 in an online auction earlier this year. A son of Not A Single Doubt and a three-quarter brother to champion colt The Autumn Sun, the bargain buy has already paid his way two times over and is proving a more magnificent sale with every week that passes by.

Originally purchased for $900,000 by Aquis Farm in 2019, the four-year-old gelding is no doubt a well-bred commodity but having had nine official trials before his first race start, it is reasonable to assume he had his fair share of issues early days. In fact, The Awesome Son had already had three trainers before he found his new permanent home with Cranbourne trainer Julius Sandhu, which included time under Chris Waller, Annabel Neasham and Kacy Fogden.

Under his three previous caretakers though he had a different name. Lofitis and Sandhu bought the horse when his name was Foscolo and decided to re-name him after his five-time Group 1 winning brother – a casual exchange that took place between the pair in May.

“We were at Sydney for the Weanling Sales. Paul and I were just having a chat.                                           

“We were throwing names around and this one popped into our heads considering the brother’s name The Autumn Sun as in S-U-N. It seemed like a nice name, and it stuck,” Sandhu said during the week.

The Awesome Son has had seven starts under Sandhu for two wins, and his latest victory in the Ranvet Handicap at The Valley was as impressive as they come. Drawing barrier 1, the horse was slowly away which has become a trademark of his racing pattern to date but charged from the tail of the field to round up his opposition in one fell swoop.

However, while the flashy last-to-first style looks good for the cameras, Sandhu is under no illusion that his horse must learn to take up a more prominent position if he wants to win better races in future.

“Originally I went with what he wanted. He was giving us indications that he was one of those laidback horses who wants to settle back and relax… and it’s worked so far.

“But while it’s impressive and it looks great, I’m not certain that he’s going to win a lot of races doing that as he goes up in class and gets to meet better horses.

“So, the journey now is about teaching him how to be more comfortable sitting closer, sitting midfield amongst horses. All the things that seem to be a little bit of a challenge for him at the moment.”

Affectionately known as ‘Sonny’ around the stables, The Awesome Son will take his place in this week’s TOTE Bar & Dining Handicap at The Valley, in the same class and distance he faced a fortnight ago. Only this time he will have to carry 58kg, penalised 2.5kg for that sensational last start victory.

“Weight doesn’t seem to be an issue. Before he stepped up to the Benchmark 70 and won, he raced a few times in 64’s carrying 58.5 and 59kg and that didn’t stop his ability to run on.”

“I think it’s more a question of him actually wanting to do it and getting interested into the race a bit early, and hopefully we see that on Friday.”

The Awesome Son has had a busy first preparation having been up since June with only a few breaks between runs, but Sandhu indicated the stable have plans to step him up further in trip after Friday night and moving forward, provided the horse runs well and more importantly pulls up fine.

“I think I’m going to step him up at some point. I think I owe it to him, and what he has shown me back home is probably a preference that he could get out further.

“Whether or not that eventuates, and he is able to relish a step up in distance is something we’ll find out, but the intention is to take him up in distance after his next run and he’ll tell us from there whether or not that is what he wants.”

Sandhu is gleaming at the prospect of The Awesome Son’s star potential next year and has meticulously planned out the coming months for the horse, including what he thinks are the key pointers in fast tracking his growth.

“I think it’s about two things. One is placing him in the right races so he can actually build his confidence, and two is educating him and getting him to be more confident on race day.

“Next campaign, that’s the excitement. We haven’t seen anywhere close to what he is capable of. And if he mentally switches on and starts to enjoy being part of a race and being a racehorse, I think we will see a lot more from him in the future.”

A promising horse indeed with a bright future ahead, but the immediate plan is winning again this Friday night at The Valley, where in-form jockey Beau Mertens takes the reigns once more.