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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Walford believes more to come from upwardly mobile hat-trick hero Our Merlin

Our Merlin, in action at Ascot under James Best in November last year, has rattled up a hat-trick on his last three starts
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Our Merlin will attempt to continue his meteoric rise up the racing ranks early in the new year, with trainer Robert Walford targeting Sandown's meeting on January 6 for his progressive hurdler.

A maiden in his first six starts, Our Merlin racked up a quickfire sequence of three wide-margin victories in the space of ten days at Plumpton, Fontwell and Taunton.

The first of those successes came off a mark of 86 but last week's 15-length cruise at Taunton under a double penalty has led to the son of Pasternak – homebred by owner Alvin Trowbridge – being reassessed at 123, an overall rise of 37lb.

Walford has resisted the temptation to keep rolling the dice and is giving Our Merlin an easy few days since his latest victory.

Walford said on Tuesday: "There’s being greedy and there’s being really greedy, isn’t there?

"He’s only walking at the moment and we'll see how he is when we start cantering him again.

'I rode his dam'

"We were looking at getting him back out in early January. There are two races for him around that time and we thought we would go to Sandown on January 6 and run for some proper money."

Our Merlin's three recent wins came at or around two miles but Walford doesn't attribute his improvement to a drop back in trip.

"I rode his dam and she was a three-mile heavy-ground horse," he said. "The jockeys get off Our Merlin and say he'll get further but I don’t see any need to do that. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

"We ran him in a bumper and I was very pleased with him. But after that he just couldn’t go. There was no obvious reason but he just couldn’t. It meant he ended up on a nice handicap mark and we never got to the bottom of why he couldn’t go. But he obviously can now."

Walford added: "He is only five and I think there could be more to come."

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We thought we would go to Sandown on January 6 and run for some proper money
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