Trainer Pat Bermingham Jnr is not certain he can win it but he’s excited about having his first crack at Sunday’s $100,000 Coolgardie Cup (1760m).
It’s an unexpected bonus for the thirty-year-old and one that he wasn’t contemplating until he received a call from a leading Perth trainer.
“Justin Warwick rang me about a fortnight ago enquiring if I was interested in picking up First Flight,” said Bermingham Jnr.
“It took me back a bit but the outlay wasn’t that expensive and Justin thought he had reached his limits with the mare.
“He believed a change of scenery would be a benefit and he is right because the horse is relishing her new environment.
“As you would expect from any of Justin’s horses she arrived in great order and she has certainly put a smile on my face.”
First Flight, a daughter of Fully Fledged, spent 12 months under Warwick’s care for four wins and seven placings from 21 starts.
In two runs back this campaign she ran 10th to Paseo Del Prado (1400m) and 11th to Excellently (1600m) at Belmont Park.
“Her form doesn’t read well on paper but there have been excuses,” said Bermingham Jnr.
“She was caught wide on both occasions and then got trapped behind a slow tempo.”
Despite the presence of Australian Derby champion Ethiopia and recent Perth winner Express Service, Bermingham Jnr won’t rule out First Flight causing an upset.
Ethiopia, prepared by Rebecca Nairn and to be ridden by Melbourne jockey Rhys McLeod, will lump topweight of 61.5kg.
Breeder-owner Trevor Delroy is keen for the six-year-old to tackle the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington in November.
“I don’t think it’s an overly strong Coolgardie Cup field to be honest,” said Bermingham Jnr.
“I don’t see why First Flight can be competitive and run a good race.
“The advantage she has is not having to travel and being based here for two weeks.
“I think she can stay and if she gets through then the Boulder and Kalgoorlie Cups become an option.
“If she doesn’t measure up I don’t lose anything and there are other options.”
Bermingham Jnr will attempt to join his father on the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club honour roll.
Paddy Bermingham Snr prepared Master Vision to win the 2007 Kalgoorlie Cup at $41.
Julio Santarelli RWWA