Stakes success on his home track on Saturday would cap a proud week for Awapuni trainer Roydon Bergerson.
He will be represented by the in-form duo of Sindacato and Town Cryer in the Listed Happy 90th Birthday Edith Bull Rangitikei Gold Cup (1600m).
Victory from either stable runner will fuel further celebrations following the midweek announcement that his son Sam will be joining Mark Walker in a Te Akau training partnership at the start of next season.
“It’s really nice of David and Mark to give him a chance. He’s got big shoes to fill, but he loves it there and is looking forward to the challenge,” Bergerson said.
His immediate focus is on the Rangitikei meeting and both of his black-type contenders have rounded off their preparations in good style this week.
“My only concern is the track and that it isn’t too heavy, but they have both been working super,” Bergerson said.
“They galloped really well on Tuesday and did a bit of three-quarter pace on Thursday and pulled up well.”
Town Cryer was a course and distance winner two runs back in the Listed Anzac Mile (1600m) before she finished sixth in the Gr.2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa.
“She travelled too keenly and probably should have gone forward and she pulled her block off,” Bergerson said.
“She challenged on the corner and just petered out the last 100m, she never really relaxed.
“She’s a good mare though and she’ll be in some decent races next spring and autumn.”
Per Incanto seven-year-old Sindacato has won three times in a career limited so far to 14 appearances after suffering a serious injury as a younger horse.
“He’s always showed a lot and was down to go to Brisbane as a three-year-old. He had won a trial at Foxton easily after faltering halfway down the straight,” Bergerson said.
“When we got him home he could hardly walk and he had cracked his pelvis, that’s why he hasn’t had many starts.”
Following a lengthy period on the side line, Sindacato returned to win twice from five starts before joining Chris Waller’s Sydney stable last year and placed twice from a handful of outings.
He earned a crack at Saturday’s feature with a resuming victory for Bergerson at Hawera last month.
He has three other chances on the card with last-start winner Bradman in the Speirs Finance Group Handicap (1400m), while Boasting contests The Rat Hole Bulls 3YO (1300m) and Man Express runs in the Waterforce Maiden (1300m).
“Bradman seems to like the wet tracks and Boasting will be an interesting runner and should go really well,” Bergerson said.
“Man Express didn’t cop the synthetic track last time and he should be very hard to beat. He’s a beautiful horse.”
Bergerson was also hoping for another bold showing from stakes winning filly Wolverine in the Gr.2 ANZ Bloodstock News The Roses (2000m) at Doomben, but indications are that she won’t take her place.
He prepared the Tivaci filly to win twice at Group Two level last season and runner-up finishes in the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) and Listed Karaka Million (1200m).
Australian Bloodstock bought into Wolverine during that preparation and she relocated to Kris Lees’ stable for her three-year-old campaign that has netted five stakes-placings for the ownership group, which still includes Bergerson.
She will go under the hammer as part of Yarraman Park Stud’s draft at next week’s Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale as a racing and breeding proposition.
“They’ve said she’s very doubtful to run on Saturday and she’s going straight to the Sale,” Bergerson said.