Autridge bringing Thunder to Te Rapa

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  • December 14, 2023
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By Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Stephen Autridge is hoping rain makes its way to Hamilton this week ahead of the SkyCity Hamilton Waikato Cup meeting on Saturday.

The Matamata trainer is set to line-up Thunder in the Gr.3 J Swap Sprint (1400m) and he said any moisture would aid his chances.

The eight-year-old gelding lapped up the wet conditions in Tauranga last month when beating subsequent Gr.1 TAB Classic (1600m) winner Desert Lightning, and while he is unlikely to be met by heavy conditions this weekend, he is hoping for a drop or two of rain in the lead-up.

“The wet conditions suited us (last start) and I don’t know if they suited him (Desert Lightning), but great form has obviously come out of that race,” Autridge said.

“He would love for there to be a bit of rain.”

Thunder has drawn barrier three for Saturday’s sprint feature, but with the riding ranks thin on the ground and a lightweight of 53kg, Autridge is still on the lookout for a jockey.

“We are still looking very hard (for a jockey), the 53(kg) doesn’t help much either,” Autridge said.

“It is not a bad draw. A lot of his wins he has been drawn out wide, I don’t know why, but to me it seems fine.”

Thunder’s future plans are undecided, with his performance this weekend dictating his next steps.

“If he runs well we will carry on and if he didn’t, we may consider easing him up and waiting for the autumn,” Autridge said.

Meanwhile, stablemate Still Bangon will also be vying for stakes glory on Saturday when she heads south to Trentham to tackle the Gr.3 Lawnmaster Eulogy Stakes (1600m).

The daughter of Satono Aladdin has once again been out of favour in the barrier draw, set to jump from gate 11 in the 14-horse field this weekend.

“We were praying for a good draw because she always draws bad, but we have got another bad one,” Autridge said. “Tegan Newman will have to overcome that.

“Her form is very good, she deserves a chance against them, and a bit of black-type would be great.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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