Timberlake will be looking to get his preparation back on track at Awapuni on Saturday after injury put a halt to his tilt at the Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton earlier this month.
The son of Redwood was heading into the mile feature in good form, having finished runner-up behind subsequent Winter Cup placegetter Verry Flash in the Whyte Handicap (1600m) at Trentham last month.
He has since bounced back and trainer Roydon Bergerson is expecting a bold run from the six-year-old on his home track in the Richards Construction/Evans Henderson Woodridge Barrister & Solicitors 1550 this weekend.
“He missed a bit of work, he banged a leg and missed the Winter Cup, which is a bit of a bugger, but he is back on track now,” Bergerson said.
“I thought he went really well in the Whyte, he got to the line strongly.
“He will love the track conditions (rated a Heavy10 on Thursday morning). He has worked up really well this week, I am really happy with him.”
Timberlake will also get the benefit of apprentice jockey Lily Sutherland’s four-kilogram claim and is set to carry 9kg less than topweight Justaskme.
“I think Lily is going to try and ride him at 50 kilos, so he will be pretty competitive at that weight,” Bergerson said.
The Palmerston North conditioner is also set to line-up Corrine in the Nelson Pine/IPL Marketing LTD/Marshall Waterproofing NZ 1550.
The five-year-old mare ran fourth over 1400m at Hawera earlier this month and Bergerson believes she will benefit from the step-up in distance.
“Corrine was pretty unlucky at Hawera I thought,” Bergerson said. “She crossed the line very strongly and up to 1550m will suit her.
“Four kilos off her back is going to be a plus as well. She should be very hard to beat.”
Bergerson will take advantage of the good prizemoney on offer at Awapuni with three-year-old Miss Belle, however, he is unsure how the lightly-raced filly will handle the heavy track conditions.
“It is a $30,000 maiden race on our backdoor step, and we don’t have to pay $400 to go to Hawera (on Friday), so it was a no-brainer,” Bergerson said.
“It (heavy track) is going to be tough on them, but it is the first race so you never know.
“She went well the other day against older horses, so she will be competitive.”
All three of Bergerson’s runners will be ridden by Sutherland, a young jockey the Awapuni horseman thinks has a lot of ability.
“She is riding very well and I thought she rode Dummy’s (Kevin Myers) team very well at Riccarton. Hopefully she can keep it going,” Bergerson said.
Meanwhile, Bergerson will have just the one runner at Hawera on Friday, but he believes it is enough to bring home a winner’s cheque.
In-form mare Queen Of Spades has been in a purple patch of form, recording three consecutive placings before winning over 1600m at Hawera last start.
She will return to the Taranaki track to compete in the Heather D. Yaxley Martinez (1600m) where she should lap up the Heavy ground, having recorded both of her victories on the surface.
“I am very pleased with her. She has come through her last race well,” Bergerson said.
“She has worked up really well and we are adding some blinkers to her. She drops a little bit in weight so Lisa Allpress takes the mount
“The wetter the better for her. She has won there before so ticks a few boxes, she should be very hard to beat.”