March 4 - Back in 1996 it was Victoria Derby winner Nothin’ Leica Dane winning the Group II AJC Hobartville Stakes and at the corresponding meeting last Saturday his three year-old son Merlin Mustang stamped himself as a bright prospect when beating older rivals to win the Ratings 75 event over 1800 metres.
Prepared at Gundagai by Michael Murphy, Merlin Mustang was sent out favourite on the strength of his strong provincial form and ran up to expectation when leading throughout to win by a long head, his overall record four wins from eight starts with prizemoney of $104,450.
Merlin Mustang has proven a great investment for his trainer, who snaffled the talented gelding for just $12,000 from the Southern Cross Breeders draft at the 2010 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale.
Merlin Mustang is the first winner for Octagonal mare Petulant Moments, a half-sister to stakes-placed Chosen to Fly from the family of Group I winner Mr Innocent.
Merlin Mustang’s sire Nothin Leica Dane stood for most of his career at Byerley Stud and has left eight stakes-winners led by ill-fated Group I winner Hot Danish.
Next on the agenda for Southern Cross Breeders is the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale where they will present a quality draft of 17 youngsters.