Day At The Track

Will Bernie be on cusp of magic mark?

12:24 PM 04 Sep 2020 NZST
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Bernie Winkle,Harness racing
Stuart McCormick photo

Hobby trainer Geoff Lucas has already enjoyed one hell of a ride with rejuvenated pacer Bernie Winkle and he's hoping the new Mildura marvel can join a select group of horses in coming weeks.

Since 2000, only 71 standardbreds have produced winning streaks of 10 races or more and the seven-year-old can move to within one of that mark with victory tonight.

Brilliant grey Lombo Pocket Watch tops the list for his staggering 19-straight wins through 2005 and 2006 and sits clear of Lombo La Fe Fe and Our Waikiki Beach, who both won 17 on end.  And who could forget squaregaiter Acacia Ridge and Lively Medley for their 15 consecutive victories?

Bernie Winkle is the only horse trained in Lucas' name and has not been beaten since arriving from the Glenn Douglas yard in April.

He scored six wins in his first preparation at the Gol Gol North stables and has returned from a little break in grand style with back-to-back triumphs over the last two Friday nights to take his unbeaten run to eight races.

"I'd love him to get to 10. It's a special number," Lucas said.

"Even up here, people look over the fence to watch Bernie to see whether he can win again and that's a nice feeling. People take an interest in the fast class and a horse stringing them together.

"It would be lovely if he can get 10, but if he doesn't we'll be satisfied with the eight we've got."

While Lucas is yet to put a foot wrong with the son of Rock N Roll Heaven, he's quick to deflect any praise that might come his way.

"I've always had this belief and this horse proves this beyond doubt. Horses make trainers, because I'm just a bloke that does it for a hobby and only ever has one or two.

"There are a lot of people in this industry that know a lot more than I do, but if you get a horse like him he makes you look good.

"It's been great fun and we just sit there and shake our head and think we are just lucky."

Regular driver Shane Smith had many holding their breath with a patient steer on Bernie Winkle last start, but the gelding unleashed a blistering sprint down the home straight to win his 30th career race and take earnings over the $300,000 mark.

Smith is back in the sulky again this evening and Lucas says the horse is now 100 per cent fit for the Tasco Petroleum Pace (1790m).

A small field of seven has been assembled, with regular sparring partners Egodan and Murranji Track among those most likely to spoil Bernie's party.

Tune in from 8.30pm to see if the new "King of Mildura" can move a step closer to the magical mark of 10-straight wins.

 

HRV - Tim O'Connor

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