Ellerslie double for local stables

Bamurru earned a tilt at the Waikato Guineas with his maiden win yesterday.

Bamurru earned a tilt at the Waikato Guineas with his maiden win yesterday.

Gary Alton and Shelley Hale mightn’t have the quantity to threaten the big guns on the premiership, but the two local trainers made their marks on the first two days of the Auckland Racing Club’s Christmas Carnival.

Both trainers picked up a double with Alton winning on Boxing Day with Ryker and yesterday with Bamurru and Hale saddling up Seventh Up to score on the first day and Go Nicholas yesterday.

In the case of Bamurru, it was his first win in seven starts and it was well-deserved after being placed in his three lead-up races. “He’s just a near little horse who keeps improving,” said Alton.

Bamurru has been ridden in his last two starts by Kelly Myers, who was impressed with the manner in which the Sakhee’s Secret three-year-old won the Living Magazine 1600.

“I thought he won really nicely,” said Myers. “I didn’t want to hit the front that early. The blinkers on today helped him. I think 2000 metres will suit him. He’s a promising little horse.”

Alton is also keen to try Bamurru over more ground and isn’t afraid to throw him in the deep end against some of the top three-year-olds in the Gr. 2 $100,000 Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 6.

“If he comes through this well we might have a crack at the Waikato Guineas,” said Alton.

Go Nicholas charging home for an impressive win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Go Nicholas charging home for an impressive win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Go Nicholas is even more lightly tried than Bamurru and shapes as a very promising horse for Hale.

The Danroad four-year-old was having just his second start when contesting the NZ Herald Super Sport 1200 and had shown promise. He had beaten the promising What A Diva in his first trial at Cambridge early last month then ran on late for seventh on debut at Matamata over 1200.

Yesterday he got back and his chances of winning looked remote halfway down the home straight, but when rider Opie Bosson got him into the clear he powered home to grab the leader Lilyput and win going away by a length and a quarter.

Go Nicholas’ late start to his racing career hadn’t been planned.

“Mum and I bred him and when my health wasn’t good last year I just left him out in the paddock,” said Hale.

Time has helped Go Nicholas and he gives the impression he will have no trouble winning again this campaign.