By Glenn Davis
Trainer Richie Stephenson has been forced into a difficult decision with stablemates Bernie’s Tiger and Skylight set to clash at Toowoomba on Wednesday.
Stephenson was reluctant for the pair to clash in the Class Three Plate (1640m) but was left with no alternative.
“I tried to find different races for them but unfortunately this was the best race for both,” Stephenson said.
“They both should run very well but it’s a hard race.
“Ben Currie’s runner Namib won well at Toowoomba last start and Chris Waller (Seahampton) and Rob Heathcote (Foxy Affair) don’t come up the range unless they think they can win.”
Jockey Josh Oliver is booked to ride Bernie’s Tiger while Kenji Yoshida stays aboard Skylight.
Stephenson worked as a shearer and on cattle stations at Surat in central Queensland before taking up training.
He has been one of the Darling Downs' top trainers for 50 years with horses such as smart sprinters Royal Samurai and Azzaland among some of his best horses.
Bernie’s Tiger has won three of his 23 starts and has been racing well winning at Toowoomba before a fourth to Reiby The Red at Doomben on March 2 and a last start second at Dalby a week later.
Skylight has a similar record with three wins from 24 starts including a last start fourth to Namib at Toowoomba on March 16.
Stephenson has given punters a strong pointer by favouring Skylight as the pick of his pair.
“If the speed is on Skylight will finish over the top of them,” he said.
“She had to lead last time at Toowoomba when she prefers to chase.
“She should have won her previous start when she suffered bad interference at Caloundra.”
Stephenson bought Skylight as a late two-year-old off fellow trainer Tony Sears and has trained her for all three wins.
Bernie’s Tiger was bought by Stephenson off former Victorian trainer Jeromy Hunter last year when the gelding was still a maiden after six starts.
“He’s well-bred and is out of very good broodmare, La Sangre,” Stephenson said.
“Bernie’s Tiger is a lot like Skylight as they are always picking up a cheque.
“He’s a good honest horse who ran a good race the day he ran fifth at Doomben in February.”
Racing Queensland webnews March 26