Cambridge trainer Mike Berger travelled down to Manawatu Raceway last week with three-year-old filly Cool And Calculating where she managed to breakthrough for her maiden victory in the Anne McBeth, Kevin & Shirley Farrier Mobile Pace (2000m).
The daughter of Art Major sat off the pace for most of the race for driver Andre Poutama before running home late to nab Karl Drogo on the line to win by half a head, with Sport Mental a further 1-1/2 lengths back in third.
It was touch and go whether she would line-up in the 2000m contest after fading badly two days prior at the Palmerston North track, however, Berger was pleased that he persevered with his filly.
“I was in two minds to start her because she had a pretty hard run the first day and she’s only a three-year-old filly,” Berger said.
“She also raced at Cambridge on the (previous) Thursday and ran third.
“I wasn’t concerned about her stopping (on Tuesday) because they were dueling for the lead for the first round. After the first round I was expecting her to stop, as the parked horse did too.
“What did concern me was whether that run had flattened her and whether I should even be starting her two days later. But she ate up, so I thought we were there, so we might as well line-up.
“I just told Andre to hide her up and not do too much work with her and see how she runs home, so it worked out alright.”
Berger took comfort from the win given he co-owns and co-bred Cool and Calculating. He trained her dam Hot and Saucy to win six races and said there are many similarities between the two.
“She is very much like her mum,” he said. “She’s quite well bred. Her mum was more than a handful. She didn’t win a lot of place money, she was either winning or nothing.
“I’m really confident she will leave us a really good one, one day. I’m hoping to get a colt, but so far we have had three foals - one had to be put down after it was born and she had a filly to Sweet Lou last year, so we haven’t had much luck getting a colt.”
Berger said he will give his filly a few days in the paddock before pressing on with her three-year-old campaign.
“We’ll keep boxing away,” he said. “She will probably have four days off and then we’ll look to line her up again.
“But she’s much like her mother, I don’t think we will ever know until the night if she is going to perform.”
Meanwhile, Berger is leaning towards easing back on well-bred two-year-old filly Emmber after her unplaced run at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
The daughter of multiple Group One-winning mare Lauraella has had two unplaced starts as a juvenile and Berger believes his filly will mature into a nice three-year-old.
“She lacks a bit of high speed at the moment,” he said. “She’s a nice filly, but quite a tall filly and is still quite a bit immature.
“She probably just wants a bit more time. She looks more of a three-year-old type than a two-year-old.
“I had a brief talk with the owners, but it’s more than likely we won’t do too much with her as a two-year-old. You sort of break their hearts chasing them when they are not ready.” – Cambridge Raceway