Merlini and Jordan Nason have their rivals wel covered over the final stages of the Trentham carnival opener.
The hard yards put in at morning trackwork by Jordan Nason garnered reward when the young Englishman rode exciting three-year-old Merlini to victory in the opening race of the Trentham carnival.
Six weeks after clearing maiden grade in his second start, Merlini lined up as the $2.40 favourite in today’s 1000-metre special conditions event and once he took the lead down the chute he dominated his rivals.
The lanky bay’s high head carriage and awkward stride didn’t make Nason’s job easy, but the two-kilogram claimer was up to the task as he kept Merlini’s momentum up and despite late runs from Silver Cloud and Vinnie’s Volley, the Cambridge combination were safe over the final stages.
“He travelled the whole way and he got lost over the crossing, but it was plain sailing, he was always comfortable,” Nason told Trackside outrider Emily Bosson modestly as he returned to scale. “I ride him every morning at home and I have to say a big thanks to (part-owners) Wayne and Vicki Pike for the opportunity to ride a very nice horse.”
Nason’s boss Tony Pike didn’t hold back in his assessment of the son of Australian sire I Am Invincible, who was in the headlines on Thursday with a A$2 million yearling result at the Gold Coast Magic Millions Sale.
“I really like this horse, he’s one of the fastest and most talented gallopers I’ve had for while,” Pike said. “When the penny drops he’s going to be a very good galloper.
“It’s a big trip down here for a young horse, so we’ll take him home and assess where we go from there.”
The 1000 metres of the Trentham carnival opener, on a track described by jockeys as “near enough to perfect”, was cut out in 57.39 seconds. Stewards deferred an upgrade from this morning’s Dead5 rating.