Day At The Track

Phelan nabs his first solo training success

10:09 AM 03 Apr 2017 NZST
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Scott Phelan,harness racing
Scott Phelan

After nailing 442 wins from 3,733 career drives Scott Phelan has now trained his first solo New Zealand winner.

The 34-year-old Clevedon horseman achieved that feat with Admiral's Flight in the first event at the Manawatu Harness Racing Club's meeting at Palmerston North last Wednesday.

Phelan was rapt, but was quick to point out he had trained other winners before.

"I think I trained about 122 when I worked for Barry Purdon (2008 - 2012) and then when I went to Australia I trained about four or five winners in my own name.

"It's a great feeling to get that first one out of the way though. I hope it's the start of many more to come," Phelan said.

Admiral Flight's first career win in nine starts came just two days after Phelan handed in his resignation at Stonewall Stud, the base of his former employers and Ardmore trainers, Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick.

“I’m back working for Barry in the mornings now and then I train my two horses, which are based at Jay Abernethy’s property in Papakura. He’s a close friend and I’m grateful to him for that,” said Phelan.

He said Admiral’s Flight had been with him for about six weeks now. He got the 5-year-old gelding from Reg and Earl Drake from Otautau in Southland.

He came north with no form but Phelan has now produced two thirds and a win from four starts with the son of Justa Tiger.

"He’s no star but goes okay and should win at least a couple more. He felt good today. My other horse in work is a 2-year-old Mach Three filly named Magical Miss.

“They are both owned by my mate Lance Goldsmith, who made my first win happen. He’s also my sponsor. I want to thank him, my father (Frank Phelan) and Jay for supporting me in my new training venture,” Phelan said.

He said he hoped to build up a small team in the next couple of years and then would decide if he would remain in harness racing.

“I’ll just see how things progress along, but at this stage I’m fired up and keen to train and drive. Today’s win has fuelled my fire. You never get sick of that winning feeling,” Phelan said.

Phelan said he used some of Purdon’s colours when designing his silks.

“I’ve always liked the blue and grey, so I went with that and then put a star in the middle. It was a great feeling to have them paraded in the winner’s circle,” he said.

Phelan and Admiral's flight drew three (of seven) in the D & M Webb Mobile for the maiden pacers.

They burned early and out-muscled eventual runner-up Wynberg Delight (Philip Butcher) to get the lead after 300m.

Admiral’s Flight and Phelan led for the remainder of the race, pacing the 2500m in 3:13 even (mile rate 2:04.2). He won by three quarters of a length and home in 60.3 and 29.9.

Phelan has now amassed $4.4 million in driving stakes since he first got in the sulky back in 2000.

Meanwhile, Phelan, Ben Butcher, Sailesh Abernethy, and Philip Butcher all drove two winners apiece at yesterday’s 10-strong race meeting.

Phelan also saluted the judge with the Willie Fleming trained Rangi Rangdu in the eighth event.

Duane Ranger

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