Trainer Tony Pike believes Merlini will make his mark in better company as his racing manners improve.
The Cambridge trainer produced the I Am Invincible three-year-old to win at his second start in the Ssangyong Maiden at Pukekohe today.
“He’s always had a lot of natural ability, but he’s still very much a work in progress,” Pike said. “When the penny drops and he puts it all together, he’ll be going through the grades pretty quickly.”
Merlini led early before dropping into the trail and despite racing greenly in the closing 400 metres he did enough under apprentice Jordan Nason to open his winning account.