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Ken Casellas | Photo Credit: Hamilton Content Creators

Buyers at the 2018 APG Perth yearling sale missed a bargain when they overlooked a tall, gangling Alta Christiano colt, who attracted little attention and was passed in at $12,000 when he failed to reach his modest reserve price of $15,000.

Present at the sale was prominent breeder and owner Rob Tomlinson, who now has no regrets that he was persuaded by breeder Trevor Lindsay and his wife Colleen to purchase a share in the youngster who races as Alta Engen and is developing into one of the State’s most promising young pacers.

Alta Engen, trained and driven by Aiden de Campo, gave further proof of his excellent potential when he set the pace and strolled to victory in the $50,000 group 2 Vale Bob Sweet San Simeon Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This took the four-year-old gelding’s record to 19 starts for 11 wins, four placings and $98,193 in stakes.

“I knew his family, but didn’t bid for him,” said Tomlinson. “I was reluctant to buy into him because he was so big. Eventually Trevor asked me to take a share in the youngster, and I agreed, and then I sold part of my share to Ross Waddell.

“Alta Engen is going great guns, but I’m not sure he is a Christas horse this year. I think he has a lot to learn and is still maturing. To pit him against more experienced horses could prove difficult. However, I think he will mature into a very nice horse.”

Alta Engen, the $1.50 favourite from the No. 1 barrier, gave his supporters little cause for concern as he was untroubled to set the pace after a moderate lead time of 37.1sec. After opening quarters of 30sec. and 29.9sec., Alta Engen dashed over the final 400m sections in 28.2sec. and 29sec. to win by 4m from Alta Intrigue, rating 1.56.5 over the 2130m.

Alta Intrigue, the second fancy at $7, fought on gamely after enjoying a perfect trail in the one-out, one-back position. Whatabro ($14) trailed the leader throughout and finished third.

Alta Engen is the third and final foal out of the Million To One mare Its Karma, who raced 46 times for six wins, eight placings and $37,710 in prizemoney. Its Karma’s dam Liberty Lombo produced eleven winners, including Baylan Jett, who has had 118 starts for 16 wins, 36 placings and $170,397.