Day At The Track

Luke out to pop Bernie's balloon

08:14 AM 11 Sep 2020 NZST
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Caulonia Terror,Harness racing

All things being equal, Luke Watson doesn't think his in-form charge Caulonia Terror can spoil Bernie Winkle's party this evening.

But that won't stop the Merbein South horseman giving it a crack.

Bernie Winkle is out to join elite company when he chases a 10th successive victory in the Tasco Petroleum Pace (2190m), with just over 70 horses having reached that mark since 2000.

Watson's four-year-old gelding has only been beaten narrowly in his last two battles with the new 'King of Mildura' and that has pleased his trainer-driver.

"Bernie would need to find an obstacle or something like that in the run for me to sort of beat him," Watson said.

"If it's even stevens and we both had the same luck in the run then Bernie is probably going to beat me all the time, but I've been around long enough to know while you're running places you can win races.

"I'm really happy with his form obviously this time in. He's finally matured into a racehorse where he was a ratbag and a lunatic. He used to gallop and carry on and he's finally got the idea of racing.

"He's been competitive in that grade so I'm thrilled to bits with him."

Watson trained Caulonia Terror's mother Caulonia Babe as well as her mother Bold As Brass and, while they won 11 and 10 races respectively, were also slow to mature on the racetrack.

"I guess he's just following the family trait along as he goes," Watson said.

"He used to do so many things wrong. He'd blow away 80-100m at the start and circle the field and run third or fourth. He was his own worst enemy.

"He doesn't feel like he's going to do anything wrong, so touch wood this time in he hasn't put a foot wrong and finally the ability is starting to come through.

"In the old system I think he is only a C3 horse. That's a big job for a C3 horse to be racing Bernie Winkle, Murranji Track and Egodan - it would have never been heard of back in that day."

Caulonia Terror, who was bred and is owned by Watson's long-time clients Peter and Avis Argiro, has won six of 37 career starts and has drawn barrier three for tonight's assignment, which he tackles following two weeks away from the races.

Bernie Winkle and driver Shane Smith will have to overcome barrier eight to reach the magical 10-win milestone, but it's hard to see the horse being beaten without bad luck.

He meets four rivals that he defeated here last week including runner-up Egodan, third-placed Heza Reddy, fourth-placed Velox Equus and Our Missionary Man, who finished last in the field of six.


HRV - Tim O'Connor

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