By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
The well-known silver and blue silks of Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan were once again to the fore at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night.
The Clevedon barn went into the meeting’s feature, the Waikato Pacing Breeders’ Stakes (1700m), with the two fancied runners and went home with the winning cheque courtesy of Artisan.
Driver Zachary Butcher eased her off the gate from her wide draw to settle off the pace. She remained near the rear of the field before following Mahia Dream three-wide down the back straight.
Butcher found the one-one with his mare before coming off Mahia Dream’s back down the home straight and ran down the Nicky Chilcott-trained and driven mare to win by a nose.
It was the fifth victory for the daughter of Art Major and Phelan was pleased with her performance.
“She is a good, honest filly and it was a good win for her,” he said.
“We will just play it by ear with her. We’ll see how many points she gets and try and find a suitable race for her, but she is getting up in the grades a bit.”
Artisan was withdrawn from the yearling sales three years ago, however, her full-sister is set to go through the sale ring next month in Christchurch, where she will be offered through Studholme Bloodstock’s New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred’s National Yearling Sale draft as lot 403.
Phelan did the steering behind Miki Montana, with the Group One performer disappointing when pacing roughly in the closing stage to finish fourth, 9-1/2 lengths in arears of her stablemate.
“She just went a bit rough going around the bend and galloped for a few strides, which cost her from being right in it,” Phelan said.
“It is back to the drawing board with her.”
Earlier on the card, Phelan scored a special victory for good friend Jay Abernethy in the Woodlands Stud 2023 Yearling Draft Mobile Pace (2200m) behind Peter Forsberg.
The pair’s friendship goes back to their junior driver days and Phelan was pleased to record his first win for Abernethy on Thursday.
“It was good to get the win for Jay, it is the first win I have had for him. You would have thought he would have put me on a winner or two by now,” Phelan quipped.