Ngatira Gold on track for jumps missions

Ngatira Gold and Gary Walsh after a decisive fresh-up flat win at Rotorua today.

Ngatira Gold and Gary Walsh combined for a decisive fresh-up flat win at Rotorua today.

Cambridge trainer Sam Logan got a pre-winter bonus with Ngatira Gold at Rotorua today.

Having his first start since finishing a game third behind D’Llaro in the Schweppes Great Northern Hurdles at Ellerslie last September, Ngatira Gold scored a runaway fresh-up win in the Jakkalberry Highweight.

Ridden by Gary Walsh, he enjoyed the trail and closed quickly on the leading pair with 700 metres to run and, after soon taking over, he ploughed through the heavy11 going to win by three and three-quarter lengths from Ours.

Logan was more hopeful than confident going into the 1950-metre event with Ngatira Gold, a six-year-old son of Gold Centre she races with a group of owners consisting her mother, Ruakaka trainer Donna Logan, Amey Hardy, Tim Charman and Russell Ensor.

“He had a pretty quiet trial at Cambridge (March 28),” said Logan. “We wanted to give him a day out and it tightened him up a bit.”

Ngatira Gold had won just one previous flat race, when trained by Donna Logan, and last year he developed into a very promising jumper, recording a double last June and some notable placings, including his Great Northern effort.

Logan praised Walsh for his ride on Ngatira Gold today and was quick to also thank Ann Browne for the use of her hill property helping to have the gelding ready for such trying first-up track conditions.

“Gary rode him perfectly,” said Logan. “He (Ngatira Gold) is happiest in the trail and he gets through this ground better than some.

“We’ve also got to thank Mrs Browne for using her hill to get him fit. That fitness really tells in the last 200 metres of tracks like this.”

Despite his latest burst of flat form, Ngatira Gold’s campaign is aimed at jumps races.

“He’ll start on May 6 in the hurdles at Te Rapa then go to the Waikato Hurdles (a fortnight later),” said Logan.

“He really woke up last preparation. Richard Cully rode him last year and I hope he comes over to ride him again.”

Ngatira Gold finished second to Zed Em in the prelude to the Waikato Hurdles last winter and two starts later notched his first jumps win at Ellerslie.

Logan could look further afield with Ngatira Gold if he continues to shape up well as a jumper this winter.

“If there’s money in the tin we could look at Australia,” she said. “He’d go over as a maiden ‘chaser not hurdling. He’s not fast enough (for Australian hurdling).”