Autumn Wind blows in

Autumn Wind (Lynsey Satherley) nabs Epae Road on the line to win at Ellerslie.

Autumn Wind (Lynsey Satherley) nabs Epae Road on the line to win at Ellerslie.

The race didn’t go to plan, but there was a happy ending for the connections of Autumn Wind at yesterday’s twilight Ellerslie meeting.

Autumn Wind started favourite in the Barfoot & Thompson 2200 on the strength of an unlucky second behind Irina at Te Aroha a fortnight earlier and co-trainer and part-owner Margaret Carter was quietly confident he could go one better.

“I think he needs to be put in the race with the rail being out 11 metres and not a heck of a lot of speed on in the race,” said Carter as Autumn Wind made his way around to the start.

However, that plan went out the window when Autumn Wind was bumped at the start and got back third-last in the early stages. “I thought he was going to be handy but they went really quick,” said rider Lynsey Satherley.

Satherley improved Autumn Wind a shade to be midfield with 1400 metres to run, but the pair then lost their position across the top and were held up rounding the home turn. Once into the clear Autumn Wind looked to be battling but then he changed legs with about 150 metres to run and wound up strongly to get in the deciding stride and win by a head from another Cambridge galloper, the John Bell-trained Epae Road.

“I was lucky enough to get on the back of Vinnie (Colgan on Epae Road) and he took me into the race,” said Satherley. “He was all legs. In another six months when he strengthens he will make the grade.”

Carter breathed a sigh of relief when the photo finish went Autumn Wind’s way.

“That was a heart-stopper,” she said. “Nothing went to plan for him, but it didn’t matter. He did the job in the end. He’s learnt some more today.”

Carter races Autumn Wind in partnership with her husband and co-trainer, Tim, and the pair have been patient with the four-year-old son of Roc De Cambes.

After three trials he made his raceday debut over 1400 metres at Matamata two months ago and second-up ran fifth at Rotorua over 1950 before his eye-catching Te Aroha second when held up in the final stages over 2200 metres.

The manner in which he handled his second 2200-metre test yesterday suggests he could develop into a handy stayer for the Carters.