Berger doubles-up at Cambridge

Cambridge trainer Mike Berger - Trish Dunell
Cambridge trainer Mike Berger

Trish Dunell

Cambridge trainer Mike Berger experienced a good night at his home track on Wednesday, recording two victories on the eight race card, doubling his winning tally for the season.

Lightly-raced four-year-old Mach Little Soaky kicked off proceedings for Berger in the Harcourts Te Awamutu Mobile Pace (2200m), recording his maiden victory from just his second raceday start.

The four-year-old son of Mach Three was given no favours in the running after being checked coming off the gate by runner-up Rhianna Reigns. He then sat parked throughout before showing his potential when running on to win by a neck.

“His run was pretty good, he’s quite a tough little fella,” Berger said. “He got a little bit of a check at the start, but it wasn’t too bad.”

While pleased with the win, Berger said his charge still did a lot wrong in the wet conditions and he believes the gelding will appreciate a few gear changes ahead of his next outing.

“He’s still got a lot to learn, he was hopping and skipping over the puddles a bit,” he said. “He wasn’t the easiest drive for Todd (Mitchell, driver), but I think he is quite a handy little horse, he’s just got a little bit to learn yet and just needs a bit of ringcraft.

“I’m probably going to make a few little gear changes, he likes to jump things that are not there sometimes. He’s still got a bit of ironing out (to do).”

Berger said he will take his time with the $13,000 weanling sale purchase, but is likely to line him up again sometime next month.

“We’ll just box on with him. He probably won’t line-up for another couple of weeks and we’ll just pick where we start.”

Three races later Berger picked-up his second victory of the night when consistent three-year-old About Turn took out the Centenary Race Meeting 11th Jan 2019 Mobile Pace (2200m).

The three-year-old colt has been runner-up on three occasions this term and finally broke through for his maiden win on Wednesday night.

“He’s been racing well and liking good company,” Berger said. “He’s been knocking at the door for a while, it came on Wednesday and it was probably his turn to be fair. It was the first good draw he has had for a while too.”

Both horses were driven by local reinsman Todd Mitchell, a driver Berger has utilised often since his main stable driver, Phil Butcher, retired at the end of last season.

Berger has experienced plenty of success with Mitchell in the past, including victory in the 2002 Gr.1 New Zealand Cup (3200m) with Gracious Knight when he trained in partnership with Warren Rich.

“He’s done a bit (of driving) for us, we try and spread it around a wee bit,” Berger said.

“He used to drive for me a lot in the old days. It’s quite good, he’s local and is a good driver, he has won four New Zealand Cups.” – Cambridge Raceway


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