Nearly a fitting farewell for Brompton

Cambridge trainer Gary Alton came so close to a perfect farewell for his veteran galloper Brompton at Ellerslie last Saturday.
Brompton bowed out of racing with a close second, beaten a nose by Saved By The Bell, in the Twomey Construction 2200, and had it not been for having to change ground in the final stages the 12-year-old could have had a successful swansong.

Brompton was coming into the race nicely between Irene Alice (on the inside) and Saved By The Belle with about 300 metres to run when the gap closed and rider Leith Innes had to switch him to the inside.

Innes and Alton were adamant Brompton had been robbed off victory and fired in a protest, but the judicial committee dismissed the protest after the blame was put on Irene Alice, who moved out under pressure into the line of Brompton.

“It’s a shame he couldn’t have gone out on a winning note,” said Alton. “He deserved to win it and it would have been a great way to finish up. Never mind, he’s been a good old horse for us and he’s retired in one piece.

“I’ve found a good home for him down Wanganui way and he’ll be used as a hack. I didn’t want to see him just sitting around in a paddock.”

Brompton was bred and raced by Alton’s parents, Ian and Shirley, and provided the couple with a great thrill when winning the 2011 White Robe Lodge Parliamentary Handicap by 14 lengths. The son of Le Destin then also won his next start, at New Plymouth.

Ian Alton lived to see all of Brompton’s seven wins, but died just three weeks before his son recorded his first Group One training success with Historian in last January’s Gr.1 Harcourt’s Thorndon Mile at Trentham.

Alton brought Brompton back into work this winter hoping to win the Parliamentary Handicap again and the oldtimer tried hard when finishing fourth to Sea Eagle. He then ran third at New Plymouth and Alton was considering retirement after his next run when unplaced at Pukekohe.

“He came through that Counties run so well I decided to give him just one more,” said Alton. “It nearly paid off, but now that’s it. He’s earned his retirement.”