Trainer sets sights on Christchurch again

Biologist could be the horse to give Gary Alton success at Riccaton. (Photo: NZ Racing Desk).

Biologist could be the horse to give Gary Alton success at Riccaton. (Photo: NZ Racing Desk).

Gary Alton is determined to land a feature race prize at Riccarton.

The Cambridge trainer is preparing for another southern trip, despite a barren run at the centre of South Island racing.

“I’m getting a bit gun shy – I’ve been there five times and never finished better than seventh, but you’ve got to keep going and hope that one day it will change,” he said.

Alton has his stakes winner Biologist nominated for the Gr.3 eStar Winter Cup and the horse will confirm a trip to Christchurch next month provided he races up to expectations this weekend.

He had originally intended to give the gelding his final lead-up in the open mile at the Waikato meeting on Saturday, but will instead be travelling south to New Plymouth.

“They had six in it at Te Rapa and then canned the race so I’m going to have to go south to get a run into him,” Alton said. “He can’t go too long between races so I’ve got no choice really.”

The Danehill Dancer five-year-old, who failed to act on a Good 3 track when unplaced in the Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile in November, will be ridden in the Listed Waikato Stud Opunake Cup by Josh Oliver.

The winner of the Listed Karaka Classic in the spring, Biologist has pleased Alton with all three of his efforts since returning from a break.  “He’s come up pretty well and even his first-up run on a heavy track was fine,” he said.

Biologist opened his current campaign with a sixth placing at Ellerslie and followed that up with a third at Ruakaka. He then returned to the Whangarei track to finish runner-up to Bechtolsheimer in an open mile handicap.