INVERELL trainer Luke Berger is considering a Bingara Cup start for Liberty Sky on Saturday although the mare could just as well start at Tamworth tomorrow.
Wherever he starts her he will have a heavy heart though as he had to put down “stable pet” Rioqualo last week.
The seven-year-old gelding developed a stomach problem that forced Berger to take the six-year-old to Oakey where he was examined, treated but then euthanased when it became clear there was nothing the vets could do to save the thoroughbred.
“Everybody loved him,” Berger said.
“He was the stable pet.
“Such a quiet horse – my little niece, only two or three, could ride him.
“It was all gut-wrenching stuff.
“Everyone who rode couldn’t believe how good he was to ride.”
Rioqualo was also a trier.
“We only won two races with him but he won more than $40,000 in prizemoney for us.
“He ran second in two Texas Cups, second in the Deepwater Cup and second in the Inverell Cup.
“He ran a heap of places for us as well. He was always thereabouts.”
In a 47-race career, Rioqualo won seven, had seven second placings and seven thirds for total prizemoney of $75,505.
After running second in the recent Deepwater Cup to Rhodonite, Berger was looking at taking him to Brisbane.
“The weight was getting to him,” he said.
“In the Deepwater Cup he had to give Rhodonite (the Cup winner) six kilos but the other horse had won five more races than him and $50,000 more in prizemoney.
“He would have got too much weight in the Bingara Cup so that’s why we were going to Brisbane.”
Berger said he’d also “copped a bit” for being too hard on Rioqualo in recent weeks.
“But he was such a good doer,” he said.
“He thrived on racing.
“A big group of blokes raced him.
“They didn’t pay much for him but had a heap of fun with him.”
He’s hoping Liberty Sky might develop as well.
“She’ll probably go around at Tamworth,” he said.
“We nominated her for both Tamworth and Bingara.
“We threw her in the Bingara Cup to see what happens – where she draws and which ever race falls away the most.
“It won’t be the strongest Bingara Cup but she’s only a class 1 horse looking for further.”
Yesterday the Barry Strong-trained Piper’s Point was allocated topweight for the $9000 Bingara Cup.
The nine-year-old chestnut gelding, who has won 11 of his 69 starts for just over $100,000 in prizemoney, received 59kg.
The Texas galloper received 2kg more than Roma seven-year-old gelding Tasteofenergy. Armidale gelding, Rhodonite, trained by Lea Selby, received 56.5kg.