Purdon-Phelan barn eyeing up more success

By Michael Guerin

Fresh from claiming one of our elite juvenile prizes trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan launch another wave at Alexandra Park tonight.

The Clevedon barn won the Harness Million juvenile boys pace for the second year on end when Cold Chisel took out the $200,000 final at Addington last Friday, a year after Merlin won the race for the same owner Dean Shannon.

“It was a good win because he only had the one lead-up run and while he got the right run I think there isn’t much between this crop so most of them are going to need that,” says Purdon.

He and Phelan were also thrilled with Merlin’s third in the Flying Stakes and confirm he will head to the Junior Free-For-All on New Zealand Cup day as his pathway to the NZ Derby on December 10.

The stable has plenty more juvenile talent to aim at either the best races this season or three-year-old glory next year and three of them are on show at Alexandra Park tonight.

The stable has two juvenile boy pacers in against older horses in race 2 - the Sweet Lou Tender Closes Tonight Mobile pace - and both In Excess (R2, No.1) and Better Knuckle Up (No.4) have shown enough to suggest they can win.

“They are both promising horses and the way he has been trialing Better Knuckle Up might just get the nod of our two this week,” says Purdon.

“He has plenty of ability and will win races shortly but from barrier 4 might just need that little bit of luck early.

“In Excess has the ace draw which is always a help and has to be hard to beat from there.”

Fellow stable juvenile Escape Artist is already an Alex Park winner and finished second to Cold Chisel in the Breckon Young Guns in March but finds himself in a tough field in the Farewell Ray Palnt Mobile Pace from the outside of the front line tonight.

“It won’t be easy but clearly he is a good horse so if he has some luck he will still be hard to beat.”

He comes up against another impressive juvenile in Yourdoinamazinsweety, who was luckless last start, and a smart filly in Kourtney Kardash in what is one of the races of the night, with Benson Dude giving Purdon/Phelan a second string chance.

The stable will have Montana D J in the IRT.Your Horse.Our Passion Handicap pace and he handled his only standing start well enough to suggest it shouldn’t be an issue tonight while Artisan has her second start back this campaign.

The 2700m standing start handicap has good depth including Miki Shan, Dontstopmenow, Simply Sam and in-form mares Lady Of The Light and Whispering Artist as they prepare for the upcoming major mares races.

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