Handy horse posts win on sod­den track for Autridge

Matamata Chronicle - - Retirement -

STEPHEN Autridge has made sure but steady steps since re­turn­ing to his old home town at the start of last sea­son and passed a small but sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone when he sad­dled up Whitby to win at Tau­ranga last Satur­day.

On a day spoilt by heavy rain and a track down­grade that re­sulted in no less than 23 late scratch­ings, Whitby ploughed through the sod­den ground to post his trainer’s tenth win for the sea­son.

‘‘Given the weather we had to deal with it wasn’t pretty but a win’s a win,’’ com­mented Autridge af­ter­wards. ‘‘He’d never struck con­di­tions like that so we went into it only hop­ing he’d cope.

‘‘He’s a handy horse who has been go­ing hon­est races since he won his maiden back in De­cem­ber so I reckon he de­served it.’’

Af­ter train­ing nine win­ners last sea­son in his first sea­son from the new 30-horse barn built on the course by the Mata­mata Rac­ing Club, Autridge set him­self a tar­get of 15 win­ners for the cur­rent term.

That’s a far cry from the heady days of shar­ing pre­mier­ship suc­cesses with his for­mer train­ing part­ner Graeme Roger­son through the first decade of this cen­tury but Autridge is sat­is­fied that right now he’s in a good space.

‘‘I love it be­ing back home,’’ said the for­mer suc­cess­ful jockey whose fa­ther Bob is still train­ing win­ners as Mata­mata’s long­est serv­ing li­cence­holder. ‘‘I’ve beaten last year’s tally and I fig­ure I’m go­ing pretty good to reach my tar­get of 15 wins.

‘‘I reckon I’ve got the best spot to be train­ing from around here, just a short walk to the train­ing tracks, good land­lords who look af­ter things pretty well and a handy team around me.

‘‘There aren’t any stars – none that I know about yet any­way – but I’m happy that my best horses at the mo­ment are what you call very promis­ing.’’

Autridge’s 30-strong team is an even mix of ac­tive race­horses and oth­ers go­ing through their early ed­u­ca­tion, along with sev­eral be­ing pre­pared for fu­ture rac­ing in Aus­tralia and Asia.

‘‘I al­ways have at least a cou­ple of those horses for clients who want to trade. I guess I’m no dif­fer­ent from any­one else in that re­spect; it’s one way of mak­ing a dol­lar for your­self and your clients.’’

The name of Tau­ranga win­ner Whitby is an easy clue to his own­er­ship, be­ing one of two win­ners on the pro­gramme owned un­der the Whitby Blood­stock banner by Syd­ney-sider Max Whitby. The other week­end win­ner in the emer­ald green Whitby colours was the Graeme and Deb­bie Roger­son-trained Scar­lett Lady, which put up an equally im­pres­sive per­for­mance to score a sec­ond win on end.

The pair’s other com­mon link is that they are both by Savabeel, one of those rare horses good enough to win the W S Cox Plate as a three-year-old. The son of cham­pion stal­lion Zabeel was raced by Graeme Roger­son and Max Whitby, both of whom have re­tained an as­so­ci­a­tion by breed­ing mares to Savabeel since his re­tire­ment to Waikato Stud.

Whitby and Scar­lett Lady are just two of a string of re­cent win­ners by the young stal­lion, that list in­clud­ing the Waikato Stud-owned filly Do Ra Mi who re­cently won the $500,000 Kewney Stakes in Mel­bourne, Can­berra Guineas win­ner Ku­daku­lari and Sav­abill, the win­ner of the Waikato Stud Slip­per on Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes day last month.

‘‘I’ve known Max since my days with Ro­gie and I’ve also got a year­ling by Pins that he bought at the Karaka sales,’’ said Stephen Autridge. ‘‘It’s good to have the sup­port of peo­ple like him.’’

As well as the now proven wet track gal­loper Whitby, Autridge-trained horses to look out for in the weeks ahead in­clude the Cam­bridge Stud-bred Aba­gale, a placeget­ter at the South Waikato meet­ing at Mata­mata two weeks ago and an­other co-owned by Sir Pa­trick and Lady Jus­tine Ho­gan, Record­ing.

He is a son of the for­mer high class Stephen Autridge-trained filly Sin­ga­long and al­though he has yet to match his mother’s abil­ity, hopes are held that it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore he hits his straps. ‘‘He’s had a few chances but so far hasn’t come up with the goods,’’ said his trainer.

‘‘I’m still con­fi­dent that once he cracks it he’ll be right.’’

Other sta­ble mem­bers that Autridge pre­dicts a bright fu­ture for are Pinot Ex­press, Abbey Tralae and Col­heita.

‘‘Pinot Ex­press and Abbey Tralae are al­ways there­abouts and I liked the way Col­heita shaped up for fourth in her first start last week.

‘‘There are oth­ers I haven’t named so I hope their own­ers aren’t of­fended when they read this but all in all things are shap­ing up all right around here.’’

Peter Bros­nan and a bunch of fam­ily part­ners got a quick re­turn on their in­vest­ment when Skidby won at Pukekohe last week in his first start from new quar­ters.

Bros­nan trains Skidby for a part­ner­ship com­pris­ing him­self and his part­ner Jess Grayson, his mother Marj, sis­ter Sue and her hus­band Kevin Cloth­ier.

With win­ter ap­proach­ing it’s dol­lars to dough­nuts that Bros­nan will be able to find some suit­able tar­gets for Skidby, who is al­ready the win­ner of three races over hur­dles.

WIN­NING PART­NER­SHIP: Stephen Autridge with Whitby.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.