Stephen Autridge looks to be in for an exciting season with rising three-year-old Alabama Gold after his win over 800m at the Cambridge trials on Tuesday.
The son of Turn Me Loose had a pleasing juvenile season, winning the Gr.3 Matamata Slipper (1200m) in February, and Autridge is hoping to add to his stakes tally this coming season.
Alabama Gold has made a pleasing return ahead of his three-year-old season and Autridge could not have been more pleased with his trial.
“I am absolutely rapt,” Autridge said. “He was just there for an outing and the number one thing was to teach him to race in behind.
“He jumped in front and eased in behind, relaxed nicely and came out and sprinted, which was really good.”
Alabama Gold’s first major test of the new season is set to be the Gr.3 Cambridge Stud Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka on August 20 before he heads south to Hastings for more three-year-old features.
“He has got to go to Ruakaka now for his next two starts, but he is a pretty genuine type of horse and handles it pretty well,” Autridge said.
“He will have one lead-up at Ruakaka into the Northland Breeders’ Stakes.
“He will then go to Hawke’s Bay for the Colin Meads (Listed, 1200m) and hopefully the Guineas (Gr.2, 1400m).”
Alabama Gold will be the flagbearer for Autridge’s new operation, having formerly been the private trainer for Valachi Downs’ Kevin and Jo Hickman, alongside Kris Shailer.
Autridge is transitioning to run his own stable once more after the recent sale of the Matamata property and dispersal of its stock.
“Last Saturday I shifted my horses to my new base, I have 20 acres just over the back at Matamata racecourse,” Autridge said.
“I have 14 boxes and will look to have 12 in work.
“They have spent the last couple of days at the new stable and from August 1 they will just be in my name.”
Alabama Gold has been joined by One Power, who won his 950m trial at Cambridge on Tuesday.
“He has always shown plenty. He pulled a muscle and had six months off. He has only had two starts for a second and a third,” Autridge said.
“He should be clearing maidens pretty shortly.”
Autridge said he will focus on quality over quantity with his barn.
“We are going to have a young team and we won’t be racing a lot but it will be very meaningful,” he said.