Valachi Downs trainer Stephen Autridge will be vying for his first Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) when he lines-up three fillies in the race at Trentham on Saturday. Autridge will saddle Communique and Karalino in Kevin and Jo Hickman’s gold colours, while he will also contest the race with Nothing Compares, part-owned by respected Horowhenua horseman Chris Rutten.
Nothing Compares finished unplaced in the Group 2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) last start after finishing runner-up in the Listed Oaks Prelude (1800m) at New Plymouth last month, while Communique and Karalino pleased Autridge when providing the quinella in the Group 3 Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie last start.
“They have come through those runs really well,” Autridge said. “Communique and Karalino have gone the right way and have ended up with good draws, so I am quite happy. I know 2400m won’t be a problem for Communique, but with Karalino I am not quite sure. But her work has been absolutely super since, so we have got to have a go.”
While Jennifer Eccles has been installed a dominant $1.95 favourite by TAB bookmakers, Autridge believes she will have her work cut out for her from her wide barrier. “Jennifer Eccles is drawn the outside, so you think she will have to go back and will have to have a lot of luck,” he said. “She overraced quite fiercely early in the piece in the Lowland Stakes (Group 2, 2100m), so you never know until you have gone the 2400m.”
Autridge will also take Red Chois and Woodcote Lass south to Trentham on Saturday where they will contest the Listed Te Akau Racing Lightning Handicap (1200m) and the Group 2 Carfininace.co.nz Wellington Guineas (1400m) respectively. Autridge is pleased with both runners who have drawn the ace barrier in their Saturday targets.
“Red Chois didn’t have all the luck last start (when finishing unplaced in the Group 3 King’s Plate, 1200m), but wasn’t far away from them. Drawing one will give her a big advantage and she is racing well. “At 1400m we are at our limit with Woodcote Lass, but the one barrier is going to make it a lot easier if she is going to go the 1400m.”