The training partnership between Cambridge horsemen Mike Berger and Matthew White will come to an end at the close of the season, with Berger electing to wind down his career.
The Gr.1 New Zealand Cup (3200m) winning trainer collected his gold card last year and after speaking with former employee and long-time friend White, he convinced the then Australian-based horseman to return home and give training a crack in New Zealand.
It wasn’t plain sailing for the pair this term, with White involved in a horrific race crash at Cambridge Raceway in January, which resulted in bleeding on the brain and fracturing three vertebrae.
While White made a comeback in March, the following week the country went into lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although their season had its obstacles, Berger was pleased with Double M Stable’s 11-win tally.
“It was a pretty good season considering lockdown,” Berger said. “We just had a few ready to go prior to lockdown and that shut us down for the season. We are only just starting to get some of them up and going again now.
“Considering the circumstances and the size of the team it was quite a good effort.”
Berger believes it is now time for him to step back and let White have a go training on his own account.
“It’s just time now where I don’t want to be working big numbers and he is young and will be having a crack on his own,” Berger said.
“I will slowly work through what I have got to get down to reasonably easy numbers again.
“I will be training between 10 and 12, and I won’t be wanting to do any more than that, and that’s with Luke Whittaker working for me.
“By the end of the season I will be looking to have even less.”
The dozen or so horses Berger will continue to train will mostly consist of horses he and wife Brenda have shares in.
“Horses like Emmber and Mach Little Soaky will go with Matty. I’ll have All Yours, Eagle Watch, About Turn, and Spirit of Anzac, just a few horses that my wife and I have shares in and then a couple for some clients,” Berger said.
“We have had most of our clients for a long time and it is good that some of them are willing to give Matty a crack.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday Berger was delighted to see stable junior driver Luke Whittaker finish runner-up in the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship at Addington Raceway.
“I am really pleased for him,” Berger said. “It was a pretty good effort. He gave all his horses every opportunity and he couldn’t have done any more than what he did.” – Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk