Berisha ready to launch in Pakenham Cup

John Sadler has been mixing up the work with stayer Berisha who has met with betting support ahead of the Pakenham Cup.

Trainer John Sadler sees a firm track and a step up in distance as big pluses for Berisha in the Pakenham Cup.

The stayer runs in Saturday's 1 9⁄16 m Listed race coming off a last-start fourth in the Ballarat Cup on an unsuitable soft track.

Berisha was trained by Robert Smerdon when he won the 2016 Mornington Cup which guaranteed him a start in that year's Caulfield Cup.

After running third to Jameka in the Naturalism Stakes, Berisha was sidelined for almost a year with a tendon injury,

Sadler took over training Berisha this year when Smerdon stood down before incurring a life ban over the Aquanita race day treatments case.

Sadler has since mixed up the gelding's work in a bid to rejuvenate him.

"Because of his tendon Robert used to do most of his work on the treadmill, but now I do a bit of schooling with him, mix his work up to try and keep him interested," Sadler said.

"And he seems interested. I reckon he strips the best he's stripped this time in.

"It's taken a bit of time for him to come up and it was a really good run in the Ballarat Cup.

"The firmer ground will suit as will an extra 1 1⁄2 f but at a crucial part of the race he always looks the first horse beaten and then he's the last one coming.

"Hopefully we can get him wound-up and going early and that big track will suit him.

"He's got to have a chance in the race."

Berisha has met with support, firming from $21 to $14 with last start Zipping Classic runner-up, Dal Harraild the $2.60 favourite.

Sadler saddles Sam's Image in the Nasahi AAC Plate (1000m).

Sam's Image is having his first start for Sadler after previously being prepared by Peter Morgan who has taken a break from training.

Sam's Image defeated the then Sadler-trained Nature Strip at Caulfield in April.

"I reckon the horse is going very well and I'd be surprised if he doesn't run a big race, and that's without me knowing him as a racehorse," Sadler said.

"Peter came over on Tuesday morning and he was happy with him."

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