Top Sydney jockey Nash Rawiller is excited about the prospects of the new kid on the block, Bernabeu, in the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
A win down the famous Flemington straight in the Spring and a slashing jump out win last Friday has Rawiller convinced that Bernabeu has the makings of a top class sprinter.
“I’m just really excited now about Saturday,” Rawiller told AAP.
“It’s not going to be an easy race or anything, but I’m pretty pumped about it.
“He’s the new kid on the block that’s for sure, but I just think the horse has got something special about him.”
Rawiller was impressed with the Fastnet Rock colt from the first time he got a feel of him in a track gallop before the John O’Shea trained three year old came out and blew his opposition away with a three and a quarter lengths win over the Black Caviar Lightning course and distance on Melbourne Cup day.
“From the first time I rode him in a track gallop around the inside grass at Flemington last spring, and just straight away he felt like he had something special about him,” Rawiller said.
Rawiller was again on board Bernabeu in an 800m Warwick Farm trial on January 28 but had to watch when Glen Boss rode him in the 800m Flemington jumpout.
“I gave him a soft trial at Warwick Farm and was really impressed with it. And I think everyone saw his jumpout at Flemington the other day. It was pretty slashing,” Rawiller said.
O’Shea has no qualms about pitting Bernabeu against the best sprinters in the country adding that his size and strength are great assets for the three year old to have.
“He is a big brut of a thing and he is still getting the three-year-old allowance,” O’Shea said.
“I think it is a significant advantage of a horse with his size and strength.”
Even though Bernabeu is making his Group racing debut, bookmakers rate him as one of the main chances and have marked him a $6.50 chance behind $3.30 favourite Samaready and speedy Sydney mare Snitzerland ($4.40).
The only other runner under double figures in the Ladbrokes.com.au Black Caviar Lightning market order is last year’s Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress at $7.50.
The two two-year-olds Boomwaa ($14) and Bugatty ($31) have thrown plenty of interest into the race with the youngsters only having to carry 46kgs under the weight for age scale.