V75® Sunday: Bergh has Power in the Kriterium "A great feeling"
He has won the Swedish Trotting Kriterium three times before. Last time was 19 years ago and Robert Bergh now has his best chance in a long time.
This year his horse is the super talented Power who has been very impressive lately.
"I haven't pulled any aces out of my sleeves with him yet. There's a lot of extra gears left in this horse and I have a horse who has the ability to win" says Robert Bergh.
Sunday is the D-day at Solvalla for the Swedish Kriterium and Oaks. The biggest races for three year olds with SEK 2 million to the Kriterium champion and SEK 1.4 million to the Oaks winner. If the winner was enrolled in 'Premiechansen' the check will be doubled.
A guy who knows how to get a horse ready for a big final is Robert Bergh. He is been very successful in the stakes races for decades and has won a number of rich and prestigious finals. He has won the Kriterium three times as a trainer and driver. First win came with Remington Crown in 1996, his other two winners were Simb Zipper in 1999 and the filly Hilda Zonett in 2000. A couple of them went on to be international stars and Robert Bergh picks out his horses as yearlings and trains and molds them himself. He now has a new good three year old named Power. The colt has been very impressive lately when toying with his opponents and he will be one of the favorites in the Kriterium on Sunday. It's been 19 years since Bergh last won the race, but this might be his year again.
"Even if I've had good horses I've never really had a great chance to win it lately. It was too bad Diamanten wasn't eligible. But I believe Power is the same caliber horse as my previous winners" says Robert Bergh.
Bought Power at the auction as a yearling
Two years ago Robert Bergh found Power at the Wenngarn Yearling Sale. He liked what he saw in the yearling colt and purchased him for SEK 450,000.
"I recall he was selling late and I spent most night waiting. I thought that with his pedigree he'd be a SEK 200-250,000 yearling. But there were other people interested in him so we ended up paying SEK 450,000. I really wanted this horse" says Bergh.
What was it with Power that caught your eye?
"I really liked his exterior. I never look at a horse's pedigree before I have looked at the individual. But when I saw the pedigree I noticed that he had a cross that's been successful in the past. A new American stallion (Googoo Gaagaa) on a good old French maternal line. It reminded me about my former champions like Hilda Zonett, Simb Zipper and Kadett C.D. to mention a few. So it's nice to see that still works" says Robert Bergh.
Stockselius' third top trotter
The buyer of Power was Svante Stockselius. The former journalist and managing director in TV has has good trotters like Kadett C.D., Amazon Am and Officer C.D. in training with Bergh before.
"Svante has been great and we've had a lot of fun over the year with some good trotters. He's been steadily buying one or two new yearlings every year. He knows how hard it is to find a great horse. So for him to now own his third top trotter is kind of unique" says Robert Bergh.
"He was a bit special in the beginning"
Power has seven wins and three second places in twelve starts. His earnings are SEK 1.3 million and he's never made a break in a race.
Tell us about Power. What kind of individual is he? Describe him for us.
"He's hard to put a label on. When he started racing he was nervous and got geared up easily. But as we’ve gone through the season, he's gotten more and more harmonic. Now I'd says he's pretty versatile and can do it all. Distance and trip doesn't really matter, he can do it regardless. The only thing he's struggled with is the 'volt' start, but there is no volt start in his DNA with that pedigree. Other than that he's a sweet horse who is pretty self confident".
"In the beginning he needed a lot of weight and I when I drove him I had to trust his strength and stamina. But since we've been able to take more and more wight off of him I can also use his speed now. So he's pretty complete, even if he can't really leave all that well. But I've also never wanted to leave with him since he used to get geared up so easily".
"He's been an interesting horse all along. When he made his first start he paced throughout the warm up. He would do that a few times when they played music before the race, so I had to race him with a lot of weight".
Does he have the potential to become a super star like some of the horses you've trained earlier?
"Yes, it feels like he does. What I like the most with him is that he's always felt like a good horse. Even though I haven't pulled any aces out of my sleeves yet, in training or with the equipment".
"I've never tried to sharpen him up with quicker intervals in training, he still races with set earplugs and a regular style sulky. He's not a horse who is loose on the lead like we see so many young horses now without shoes and in their American sulkies and with pullout earplugs".
"Power has trained in the pressure cart on the trail and he also likes training on the uphill track. We had some bad tracks due to the weather before his elimination so I haven't pushed him any in training. I had to train him on the uphill track instead".
"This is more old school. He needs some weight and he has his earplugs in. I think he likes it that way and I have a lot of extra gears left in him because of that. The only thing we've done is that we've gone from 500 grams to 300 grams on each front foot. So all together I have a great feeling about this horse".
Same type of training as before the Elitlopp weekend
Power won his Kriterium elimination easily after having advanced to the lead early. He will start from post three in this classy Kriterium final and trainer Bergh says there won't be any changes or any special kind of training to get him sharper.
"No changes as far as shoeing and equipment. The only change is that he will get the same type of training as he got before the Elitlopp weekend when Björn won with him. Nothing advanced but he'll go every other day instead of the uphill. He trained nice and slow yesterday (Monday) and was good".
"He felt very good in the elimination and it was a nice race for him. It's a very good crop of three year olds where a few of them are very good horses. I also think that a few of the horses who finished second in their eliminations have shown good qualities. But I have a good feeling and I have a horse who can win".
Mellby Harissa in the Oaks - "The lady looks good on the catwalk now"
Robert Bergh also has Mellby Marissa in the Oaks, with SEK 1.4 million to the winner. After finishing second in her elimination, she will start from post eleven in the second tier.
"Mellby Harissa (V75®-4) raced very well in her elimination and I've never felt her better. She got hurt and had some time off a few months ago and during that time a lot happened with her body. She grew and got bigger. When I took her to Åby to train her ten days prior to the eliminations I said that she looks like an open class trotter. She was a bit on the heavy side when she started racing in the spring but she has really developed into a nice, elegant looking filly. the lady looks good on the catwalk now" Bergh says laughing.
"She got some tough trips early on in her career and I felt bad for her. She got parked and got nipped at the wire. Even though she tried hard and did her best she didn't get the wins. She has really shown that she has both the potential and the right attitude".
"Everything feels good with her going into the Oaks final. She got a race which she needed and that will do her good. Even if she's raced very well lately she has to improve further to have a chance in here. Post positions usually don't mean a lot in these races. It's more about who's in form and who's not. She will race without shoes again and we'll try pullouts on her for the first time".