Scintillating Speed sees Merlin (NZ) Remain Unbeaten

1 April 2022

Merlin (NZ) claims the Group Two Breckon Farms Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes (1700m).

Sensational speed saw rising star Merlin (NZ) (Art Major) remain unbeaten with an impressive win in the $67,000 Group Two Breckon Farms Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes (1700m) at Alexandra Park on Friday 25 March. 

Merlin confirmed his ranking as New Zealand’s leading two-year-old male pacer when he reeled off scintillating final sections to seal his third victory in just his third start for trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan.

The star pacer was purchased by Dean Shannon’s Montana Park for $120,000 from the Broadfield Lodge draft at the 2021 Christchurch National Yearling Sale.

Merlin was expertly handled by driver Zachary Butcher, who had the colt in the lead shortly after the start of the Group Two feature. The pacer then showed a stunning turn of foot when reeling off a brilliant 26.8sec final 400 metres to win.

Butcher was full of praise after the colt held out his rivals in style. A daunting thought for opposition camps heading forward is that Butcher thinks Merlin can be even faster when he is driven in behind horses.

“He is a good horse, he already has speed,” the reinsman told HRNZ.

“I have said it before and it is true, he will be far better following a solid speed, but at the moment he is so fast it is hard to find a horse to trail.

“That is why I think he will go on with the job later in the two-year-old season because that speed will take you a long way and he has great trainers to keep him improving.”

A half-brother to Merlin, by Captaintreacherous from Imaginary Bet (NZ), was bought by Kentuckiana Lodge for $200,000 at this year’s 2022 Christchurch National Yearling Sale, offered by Laura Smith.

Friday night’s victory completed a Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes double for trainers Barry Purdon, driver Zachary Butcher and owner Dean Shannon.

The same combination took out the feature event with another NZB Standardbred graduate in Montana D J (NZ) (Captaintreacherous).

Montana D J was purchased at the 2020 Christchurch National Yearling Sale from vendor and preparer Jill Smolenski.

Consignor Broadfield Lodge
Purchaser Montana Park
Breeding Bettor's Delight x Imaginary Bet
Sale 2020 Christchurch Yearling Sale
Bred by Taffy Limited