AARON Purcell had Warrnambool's beaches and a stroke of luck to thank after a stable debutant claimed yesterday's 0-62 rating handicap (1100m).
Six weeks ago Purcell took over training Artistic after he got a call from the gelding's Perth-based owner, Neven Botica.
Purcell said Botica had seen the 34-year-old trainer on television after his horse Spirit Song won a $121,500 race at Moonee Valley in March. The next day he called Purcell and offered him the Bart Cummings-trained Artistic.
Since joining Purcell's stables at the course, the four-year-old has spent long mornings on the beach, working in sand dunes at Levys Point and other coastal stretches.
He said the "big horse" had been pulling up sore after races and the beach had allowed him to get work into his legs.
Purcell said he had thought about scratching the lightly-raced gelding yesterday because he had 60 kilograms. But with the prospect of rain today and tomorrow, his disliking for soft going forced his hand.