By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Cambridge trainer Mike Berger took three horses south to Manawatu Raceway’s meeting on Tuesday and he was rewarded with a winning double.
The night was headlined by About Turn’s gutsy win in the Mad Butcher Wairarapa Cup Mobile Pace (2000m).
The five-year-old entire had his work cut out for him after drawing one on the second line, but under a patient drive by stable junior driver Luke Whittaker they bided their time at the rear of the field, Whittaker then launched his charge three-wide with 600m to go and About Turn was able to run over the top of his rivals to score a half a length victory over race favourite Mogul.
Berger was pleased with the win but admitted he was a bit shocked when he saw the winning dividend of $17.90.
“He is such an honest horse, he never goes a bad one,” Berger said.
“I don’t bet and it wasn’t until afterwards that I saw the dividends. I was astounded considering his form line and some of the horses who had beaten him.”
About Turn had placed in his two previous starts at Cambridge when driven by Whittaker and Berger said it was good to finally get the win.
“He certainly deserved that win and with Luke on him it was penalty free,” Berger said.
“He has been driving him pretty well from bad draws and not getting much luck.
“He has had a really bad run of draws the whole way through, but we were really quite concerned about drawing one on the second row today.
“Luke used his head and eventually got on the three-wide train. He is pretty patient and sat there for as long as he could, it was a good drive.”
Earlier in the card Group One performer Eagle Watch was backed into $1.80 favouritism for the Masterton Club Mobile Pace (2000m) and won accordingly.
“He got his own way out in front,” Berger said. “They dictated the pace and just had to sprint home. He got it handed to him on a plate to be fair.”
Berger was less impressed with stablemate Barbarossa’s sixth-placing in the PGG Wrightson Mobile Pace (2000m).
“I was a bit disappointed in him,” Berger said. “He did come down for experience and I thought he would go alright.
“I quite like him, but he’s just a bit immature. It was a bit of a headscratcher, I thought he would run on better than that.”
All going to plan Berger said all three of his runners would back-up on the second day of the meeting.
“They will most likely back-up on Thursday. We are down here so we might as well,” he said.
Berger said it has also been good to see a lot of trainers get in behind the Manawatu Harness Racing Club after it faced a doubtful future earlier in the year.
“Manawatu is a great little club and I like to support them,” he said.
“They have been great to me over the years and I was a bit concerned when they were talking about not giving them any dates (earlier in the year).
“I think it is good that they have got a lot of support.”