Merlin casts a spell at The Park

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan unveiled a couple of promising juveniles at Alexandra Park on Thursday night and feature two-year-old targets are now in their sights.

Merlin and Sooner The Bettor were making their debuts for the Clevedon stable and the pair both showed plenty of ability in their first outings, securing the quinella in the NZB Standardbred Sale Auckland & Christchurch 13-16 Feb 2YO Mobile Pace (1700m).

Merlin was sent forward early off the mobile by driver Zac Butcher to take an early lead, while Scott Phelan eased Sooner The Bettor to the tail of the field from his wide draw to bookend the field.

Merlin was left untroubled in front with the field remaining in Indian file until Phelan asked his charge to improve at the 600m mark.

Having had everything his own way, Merlin was able to run away to a comfortable two length victory over Sooner The Bettor, with a further 2-3/4 lengths back to Two Eye See in third.

Phelan was pleased with the pair’s performance and both will now head to the Young Guns Heat at Alexandra Park next Saturday.

“Merlin seems a nice enough horse and it was good to kick-off his career with a win,” Phelan said.

“It was a good effort at his first time at the Park.

“It was also a good effort from Sooner The Bettor from where he was back in the field, and he hit the line well.

“All going well they will head to the Young Guns heat, that is their goal anyway.”

Earlier in the night the stable picked up another quinella when Major Perry and Artisan went one-two in the Woodlands 2022 Yearling Sales Draft Mobile Pace (1700m).

“They got pretty good trips and went how they should have from the trips they got,” Phelan said.

“Major Perry has the Harness Millions next Saturday, so that will good.”

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