Exciting season ahead for Autridge

Trainer Stephen Autridge is excited about his team ahead of the coming season. Photo: Trish Dunell

Valachi Downs’ trainer Stephen Autridge welcomed back 30 horses to his Matamata barn last week and he is excited about the future with his young team.

Autridge has posted 15 wins this term and was looking to adding to that tally, however, the Covid-19 restrictions put a stop a halt to those ambitions.

“I was working on getting 20, and thought we may have gone close, but we will never know,” he said.

While Autridge admitted to being a little bit frustrated during the Alert Level 4 lockdown period, he said he was grateful to have his rural property to help keep him busy.

“We struggled a bit, but we are lucky that we have a 20 acre property to look after with six spellers, a couple of broodmares, and 20 head of cattle, so that has kept us on the move,” he said.

“It was great getting back to the stables last week, I was really looking forward to it.

“We worked 30 this morning and we are probably going to work about 40.”

Autridge said he and his team benefited from the break, particularly ahead of the cold winter months.

“We have been spoilt with the good weather, but I guess we have got a long winter to still get through, so it’s just as well we had that break,” he said.

Reflecting on the season-to-date, Autridge said there were many highlights, headed by Communique (NZ) (Redwood) and Karalino (NZ) (Zacinto) taking out the quinella in the Gr.3 Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie in February.

Communique (outside) gets the better of stablemate Karalino in the Gr.3 Sunline Vase (2100m).
Photo: Trish Dunell

“The quinella in the Sunline Vase was one of the season’s highlights, but I got a lot of enjoyment winning some of those good races down in Christchurch in front of (Valachi Downs principals) Kevin and Jo Hickman,” he said.

While satisfied with the stable’s results this term, Autridge said he is looking forward to next season with a couple of exciting prospects.

“We have got some nice, educated and performing two-year-olds that are turning three,” he said.

“We are going to have more of a race team this coming season than what we have had. Let’s hope we can get some more group races.

“Kelly Renee (NZ) (Vespa), is still a maiden filly, she is Group One and Two placed already. Laced With Gold (NZ) (Showcasing) also goes well, she just didn’t get things right the last couple of starts.

“And I think the best is still to come with Karalino and Communique.”

Autridge highlighted Karalino as the horse that is exciting him the most ahead of next season, but he will look to cap her races at 2000m.

“The funny thing about her is that she was getting better and better and along the way we worked out she wasn’t a real stayer,” he said. “This time going through we will be a bit conservative on how far we go. I am pretty happy to stay up to 2000m, but around the mile might be the go.”

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