First win for training partnership
‘‘She was bogged down in her first start at Rotorua and then she led them up in a good field at Avondale,’’ Autridge says.
‘‘She blew hard after that race and I realised I had left her a bit short on fitness, but I knew she was ready when she worked up a treat last Tuesday.’’
Stella Di Paco used her natural pace to lead Saturday’s field and defied all challengers to land the prize at odds of 45-to-one.
That wasn’t the first time Autridge had won the Castletown Stakes, having taken the race with Chartreuse in 2006.
Now he has his eyes on the final two-year-old black-type race of the season, the Ryder Stakes at Otaki in late July.
That trophy has his name on it as well, first as a jockey when he partnered the mighty colt Altitude to victory in 1981 and as a trainer with Cedar Manor in 2004.
Training winners is something new for Jamie Richards, but by the same token not entirely foreign.
He grew up in racing as a son for former leading South Island jockey Paul Richards, a member of the elite club of New Zealand jockeys to ride more than 1000 winners and more recently a successful trainer.
By his mid- teens Richards realised that his size would rule out following in his father’s footsteps, but he was still able to mix university studies with an amateur jockey’s licence.
Albeit from limited opportunities, the genes shone through as he put together a commendable record of four wins from just eight amateur race rides.
Jamie’s tertiary studies led to a degree in marketing and accounting as well as a Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association scholarship that took to some of the world’s breeding and racing hotspots.
Stints with leading local industry organisations such as New Zealand Bloodstock and Waikato Stud led to his appointment last year as Te Akau’s racing manager and his elevation to a training partnership is the sure sign of a young man set to cement his place in racing.
Another junior member of the local ranks to make an impact over Queen’s Birthday Weekend was apprentice jockey Shaun McKay, who racked up five winners across the Wanganui and Tauherenikau meetings.
McKay’s roll began at Wanganui on Saturday with a win on locally trained Start Wondering, followed by another on Queen Of Navarre, who is trained by his father Peter and brother Jacob, and he completed a treble in the last race of the day on the aptly named Twoznotenough.
Staying over for Monday’s Tauherenikau meeting, McKay continued his hot run of form with wins in the first two races, only to be denied another treble when relegated to second on his sixth race mount Jimmy Mac. He was handed a five-meeting suspension after admitting a careless riding charge over the final stages of that race.
Stella Di Paco digs deep to credit new training partners Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards with their first win.