Quirky import chasing Summer Cup success
French import Berdibek has presented John O’Shea with a number of challenges since his arrival in Australia but after three years the horse is finally starting to come around.
A Listed placegetter in Europe, Berdibek took 11 runs to break his Australian maiden and just as O’Shea got him into winning form, the horse had to spend almost a year on the sidelines.
“He ‘s got a few quirks to him, he is a funny little fellow,” O’Shea said.
“But he is starting to learn our ways and as he learns what’s going on, he’s been a lot better.”
Berdibek will be given a chance to chase his most significant win at Randwick on Saturday when he lines up in the Group Three Summer Cup (2000m).
The seven-year-old showed he had returned in good order with a determined first up victory at Flemington during the spring carnival.
He subsequently finished midfield over 1600m at Kembla Grange and was beaten just over four lengths in the Villiers Stakes when he got back from a wide gate on a day when horses struggled to make ground.
“We were really happy with him in the Villiers. He was sectionally very good,” O’Shea said.
“He was no chance before they jumped out of the barriers. Let’s hope we get a fairer surface on Saturday and a race where there’s a truer tempo and I’m sure he will acquit himself well.”
A field of 10 has accepted for the Summer Cup with the Mark Newnham-trained Spirit Ridge opening a $4 favourite, ahead of stablemate Greysful Glamour.
The Villiers Stakes winner, who with 59kg will need to set a weight-carrying record for a mare, shares the second line of betting with the David Pfieffer-trained Laure Me In.
O’Shea will saddle up a number of runners at the Boxing Day meeting, including the talented Opacity.
After winning five of his first seven starts, Opacity was slated for bigger goals but lost his way during the early part of the spring.
Rather than tip him out, O’Shea persevered and he is confident the horse is on the verge of turning his form around despite another awkward draw.
“We need to try to give him a chance to be in the finish and I expect a much better performance from him on Saturday,” O’Shea said.
Opacity will head to Queensland after this weekend where he will target The Wave, a new 1800m race at the Gold Coast on January 9 which carries a $200,000 bonus to the winner if it is nominated for the Magic Millions race series.