Bernabeu is set to make his Group 1 debut in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington next Saturday after winning a jump out in impressive fashion this morning.
The talented gelding took on the likes of Shamexpress and Happy Galaxy in a jump out over 800 metres down the famous Flemington straight and ran away from the rest of the field to score comfortable win while being kept under a heavy hold by leading jockey Glen Boss.
Trainer John O’Shea told Sky Racing HQ this morning that he was surprised by how quick Bernabeu worked over 800 metres and said that he has been happy with the way the son of Fastnet Rock has settled in Melbourne.
“He was out there to have a relatively easy morning, in light of the heat, and he was obviously a lot more comfortable under the conditions than his opposition,” O’Shea said.
“He has always been very effective down the straight and he is a horse that likes to gallop; he doesn’t like the complication of going around a bend.
“He seems to be in the right frame of mind and going quiet well.
“He is a very unflappable sort of horse; he has come back now with his ice on and he hasn’t even turned a hair.
“That is indicative that he is coping well and he has had a good foundation for the race.”
Bernabeu recorded two impressive wins during his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, breaking his maiden in Newcastle on September 19 before scoring a dominant win over Iconic and Churchill Dancer in the Flemington Fling (1000m) on Melbourne Cup Day, but will be making his debut at Group level in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.
O’Shea is confident that Bernabeu can be competitive against the likes of Samaready and Snitzerland in the Group 1 event and believes that the weight allowance for three-year-olds gives him a significant advantage.
“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.
“In light of the trial he has had today he can have a relatively easy week and prepare for next Saturday.”
O’Shea is chasing his first win in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes after previously missing the placings with Foxwedge (fourth behind Black Caviar in 2012) and Jet Spur (sixth behind Takeover Target in 2006).