Story by Just Horse Racing
Berkeley Square has vindicated trainer Dan O’Sullivan’s faith in the three-year-old as a stayer with a fighting win at Moonee Valley.
Sent out the $2.60 favourite under Craig Williams, Berkeley Square scored a three-quarter length win from Virtuous Circle ($5) with Pericles ($3) a short-half-head away third.
Berkeley Square relished the rise in distance from his fourth-place finish in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 8, although O’Sullivan had his doubts the gelding was happy on the tight turning Valley circuit.
“I’m glad he put his head out at the right time,” O’Sullivan said.
“I’ll be interested what Craig has to say on how he handled that track, but I’m really pleased to get that result home for the owners.
“I’ve thought that 2000 metres would be his minimum (distance). It was a really exciting race, and he was tough to the line.”
O’Sullivan does not see the rise to 2500m in a week’s time will pose a problem for Berkeley Square, although the trainer wants to debrief with Willimas before a final decision is made on a Derby start.
In a change to previous years, the Victoria Racing Club has moved away from taking early entries for the Victoria Derby and nominations for the race will close on Monday.
TAB is operating a market on the Derby and Berkeley Square firmed from $6 to $4.50 following Saturday’s victory.
Should Berkeley Square head to the Derby, he will be attempting to become the first galloper since Efficient (2006) to win The Vase and Derby double.
“I think he will get it (the trip),” O’Sullivan said.
“I’ll have a chat to Craig and it will be interesting how much this race takes out of him. The track is drying out but if the run affected him then we wouldn’t go.”
Williams said while the Moonee Valley track was drying it remained borderline between soft and heavy, conditions that were not ideal for Berkeley Square.
“He struggled a bit on it today, but he showed his superiority late in the race and he’s an exciting horse,” Williams said.