Bart of the North Dominates Pine Creek Fields
Young Darwin horseman Bart Merrall will be in for a busy day on Saturday when he travels a large team of his stable to the country non-TAB meeting at Pine Creek.
Merrall, 30, has twelve acceptors at the meeting - comprising more than half of the total number of runners of 22.
The Merrall stable is guaranteed one winner. He trains the entrie field of five to contest the $6,000 Rob Knight Tropical Refrigeration Open Handicap (1300m).
He also has two of the four in the Class 2, three of the five in the first division of the Class B and two of four in the other division.
The stable is without a runner in the feature event - the $10,150 Class 4 GBC Gold Pine Creek Cup (1600m).
Merrall was bred to train.
His father and grandfather were both successful trainers in New South Wales.
"My grandfather Bert Honeychurch trained in New South Wales and my dad Bob trained from Albury and Corowa before moving to Darwin later on," Merrall told The Virtual FormGuide.
The trainer, who has 35 in work, kicked away his training career in recent times after a stint as an owner and then stable employee.
"I owned a horse with Stephen Brown and then got into (owning) a few more," Merrall reported. "I also kicked around the stable a bit and learned a few things here and there."
"When Stephen moved to Macau it meant that I basically ended up in charge."
"I've been training for the last two seasons now," Merrall confirmed.
Merrall said he was very much looking forward to heading to Pine Creek on Saturday to saddle up his twelve runners.
"We've always been a big supporter of country racing," Merrall said. "There is some great money up for grabs - for money than many would be racing for in states like New South Wales."
He is also looking further ahead as the Darwin season cranks into full swing.
"Our carnival is coming up through July and August and we've got a number of horses being set for the good races - including the (Darwin) Cup."
Two horses in Merrall's stables are well known to interstate racing followers.
"We've got Mr Tambourineman back now after a stint down in Melbourne with John Leek," Merrall confirmed. "He will be set for the Cup again."
"And another is Glock," Merrall added. "We had him entered for the Pine Creek Cup, but he was given 62.5 (kilograms) and it's just too much weight."
As well as being a third generation trainer, Merrall's family includes more trainers. Accomplished Cranbourne horseman Les Theodore is an uncle and his son Stephen is also a successful trainer in Victoria through the exploits of stable stars including Count Ricardo and Overclock.
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