Successful owner-trainer passes away

Last Saturday marked the death of Ian Alton, a former successful owner-trainer-breeder and father of Cambridge horseman Gary Alton.

Alton (80), who had been in ill-health for a lengthy period, had his biggest highlights in racing with Dare Devil, whose wins included the 1970 Hawke’s Bay Guineas, beating subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Silver Knight.

Dare Devil also won the Canterbury Gold Cup and Ellerslie’s Clifford Plate, defeating the topliner Panzer Chief in a three-horse contest. He was also second in the Wellington Derby and placed in the NZ Derby.

Miss Otakiri (1970 WRC Pearce Handicap) and Affaire D’Honneur (11 wins in the early 1980s) were other good gallopers Alton prepared as an owner-trainer and raced with his wife, Shirley.

In the latter years the Altons enjoyed success with Brompton, who was trained by their son. The highlight among Brompton’s seven wins was a 14-length victory in the 2011 Parliamentary Handicap at Trentham.

Ian Alton served as a committee member of the Waikato branch of the Owners and Trainers Association and established the first equine swimming pool in Cambridge, on his property adjacent to the Cambridge training track.