Berger in with a chance to win his own race at Manawatu

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

Cambridge trainer Mike Berger has travelled south for today's meeting at Manawatu - and it feels like an ambush.

Much to his surprise race 5 is the Happy 70th Birthday Mike Berger Mobile pace.

"I didn't know anything about it," Berger says, "plus I didn't want the whole world knowing how old I was!"

Berger turned 70 over the weekend.

"I asked whose idea it was but haven't heard a thing as yet," he laughs.

"But it's pretty cool. I've always enjoyed the Manawatu and Palmerston North - the club does a great job"

Fittingly Berger will have a live chance in the race, with Lady La Salle rated a big show.

She has had two wins and three placings on the course from just eight starts, including a second behind Full Of Desire on November 23. With a career record of three wins from 34 starts, her last win on course was on November 13.

"She can be a bit moody but she's going through a wee purple patch of form at the moment."

Berger has also just brought up another milestone.

When Cos I Can won at Alexandra Park last Friday (paying $14.40) Berger brought up his 700th training success, a day before his 70th birthday.

His first win was with Supreme Ruler, driven by Tony Herlihy, at Cambridge in 1982 while his highest profile was in 2002. When training in partnership with Warren Rich, they quinellaed the New Zealand Cup with Gracious Knight and Facta Non Verba.

These days he trains a team of 11, with seven of them in at Manawatu today.

How fitting it will be if Lady La Salle can continue what has already been a big few days.

"I would say she's the best of my chances."

Race 5 The Happy 70th Birthday Mike Berger Mobile Pace is set to go at 5.30pm

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