Racing: Stable cheered as treble earns bonus

Two of the most popular results at Rotorua centred on trainer Bob Autridge and Cambridge jockey Lynsey Hofmann.

Autridge scooped a $5000 bonus by winning three races on the card on Saturday and cheers from supporters rose with each success.

Between times Hofmann snatched victory in the day's feature, the Linda Jones Classic 2003, confined to woman riders.

Autridge won the Spa Hotel Taupo 1400 with Ninety Nine, then caused an upset win with Awesome King in the Philip Leather Builders 1400 and topped off with a deserved win by Miss Higgins in the Lake Plaza Hotel Rotorua 1200.

The delight after Awesome King won for jovial owner Graeme Robb doubled when Miss Higgins surged to the front inside the last 200m.

It is not the first time he has trained three winners in a day, but it is the first occasion he has picked up a bonus for doing so.

"When it has happened before there has been a jumper amongst them," Autridge said. "This will keep the wife happy."

Autridge races Miss Higgins with his wife, Gloria.

The running of the Linda Jones Classic 2003 was the 25th anniversary of the first women to ride in a totalisator race in New Zealand.

Linda Jones, one of the pioneers, and her husband, Cambridge trainer Alan Jones, sponsored the event along with Flair (For Ladies Advancing the Interests of Racing).

The win of Hofmann aboard Scene Steeler in the race was appropriate in that she is a former apprentice for the Joneses.

"It's a great result," Alan Jones said after watching Hofmann win on the Richard Dee and Matt Dixon-trained horse.

Hofmann was equally delighted with the result and admitted to having some confidence going into the race.

Scene Steeler was unplaced in her lead-up race, but that was in the Derby Prelude and she was not only dropping back in company and distance, but also wearing blinkers.

As guests of the club were many of the former women riders, including Vivienne Kaye, Jo Giles (nee Hale) and Joanne Hand (nee Lamond) who were three of the first four women riders in New Zealand.

The absentee of the four was Sue Day, who is now living in Queensland.

Day was the first woman to ride a winner at a totalisator race in New Zealand when scoring on Jaws at Timaru on July 22, 1978.

Other ex-riders on hand included Cherie Carey (nee Saxon), Diane Knowles (Prime), Cheski Brown (Tibbats), Sue Thompson, Lisa Cropp, Gaye Craig, Karen Fursdon (Crawford), Linda Laing ( Dowling) and Leonie Pratt.

- NZPA

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