Third time lucky for Berdibek at Kembla Grange

After two false starts, quirky gelding Berdibek is poised to finally race at Kembla Grange’s feature meeting of the spring and his trainer says he is not without a chance.

The eight-year-old has been scheduled to contest races on The Gong program for the past two years but hasn’t made it out of the gates either time.

“He has been to this meeting for the last two years and funnily enough got scratched at the barriers, so hopefully third time lucky,” trainer John O’Shea said.

“It was a bit of my fault. I changed the gear on him twice and forgot what happened the year before.”

Fresh from capturing the $1 million The Hunter with rising star Lost And Running, O’Shea will send Berdibek to the $1 million The Gong (1600m) first-up following a career-best preparation that yielded back-to-back stakes victories in the Rowley Mile and Wyong Cup.

The horse is a winner up to 2200 metres, but O’Shea won’t be surprised to see the grey sprint well fresh on Saturday, provided the race is run at a good speed.

“If he gets a fast run mile, he always gives a good account of himself,” O’Shea said.

“He won the Rowley Mile and it has been a really good form race.

“He had a great prep last time with some really scintillating wins.”

Berdibek, who has drawn well in gate two, saluted in a Randwick barrier trial last week in preparation for his return and he is a winner first-up.

The gelding is being aimed towards the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on December 11 and Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) at the same venue on Boxing Day.

He will face 15 rivals in The Gong, including Golden Eagle runner-up and local hope Count De Rupee, who has come up with barrier 17, and defending champion Archedemus who has gate 19.

I Am Superman, one of two runners for Peter and Paul Snowden, has the inside gate while his stablemate Exoboom has drawn midfield in barrier 10.

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