By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
South Auckland trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan may be under lockdown but they were able to enjoy watching their stable runners record a treble at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night from the comfort of their living rooms.
While their famous silver and blue colours were expected to feature prominently on the night, they enjoyed securing the treble nonetheless.
“It was a good night, a few of them went some good races,” Phelan said.
Doctor Steve put on a clinical performance in the NZMCA Parking At The Cambridge Raceway Mobile Pace (2200m) to record back-to-back victories at the Waikato track and kick off the meeting in style for the stable.
From his wide barrier Doctor Steve was taken back to the rear of the field by junior driver Luke Whittaker who sat patiently behind the son of He’s Watching.
They tracked Riverboy Ben into the race down the back straight but had to navigate around and off-stride Girls Are Best when turning for home.
From his wide position, Doctor Steve was able to storm over the top of his rivals to win by 4-3/4 lengths over Riverboy Ben, with a further five lengths back to Sheza Rose in third.
“They went pretty hard in the race and he got over the top of them in the end which was good,” Phelan said.
“Luke drove him well. He has been a great help to us over the last couple of weeks, so it was good (to reward him with the win).”
Doctor Steve wasn’t the only stable runner to make it back-to-back wins, with Major Jellis mirroring the effort when taking out the meeting’s feature race, the Dunstan Handicap Pace (2200m).
“He was quite good tonight I thought,” Phelan said. “He showed a bit of guts in a nice enough field and it was good to get another win with him.”
Smart maiden Tonites Delight secured a treble for the stable when winning the Quiz Night At The Clubhouse Every Wednesday Mobile Pace (2200m) in the hands of local reinsman David Butcher.
The Bettor’s Delight gelding placed on debut at Alexandra Park last month and was duly backed into $1.30 favouritism for Thursday’s contest.
“He was an above average maiden,” Phelan said of the Breckon Farms bred and owned juvenile.
“You don’t expect to win them but tonight we thought he was going to be very hard to beat so it was good that he got over the line first.”
With neither Purdon, Phelan, or their staff able to travel to Cambridge on Thursday night, they have had to call on the help of a few Waikato locals, and Phelan made special mention of Breckon Farms employee Jordan Crawford for his assistance.
“Jordan Crawford has been helping us. He has been gearing them up and walking them all as Luke (Whittaker) has been driving most of the night,” Phelan said. “Jordan has been a massive help.”
While unable to be trackside as a result of Auckland’s COVID-19 Level 4 restrictions, Phelan said it wasn’t all bad.
“We just change the channel (after the races) and watch a movie, so we’re alright,” he quipped.