Gosford races: Tommy Berry refuses to ease up in hunt for winners

Sydney’s leading jockey Tommy Berry wasn’t going to let his hectic schedule stop him from riding French Bonnet and Deepfield Magic at Gosford on Wednesday.

Berry could easily have chosen to miss the low-key provincial meeting, particularly after riding into the evening at Warwick Farm on Australia Day then backing up quickly to ride at an important Rosehill barrier trials session in the morning.

Then there is the Canterbury Friday night meeting ahead of Saturday’s Expressway Stakes fixture at Rosehill Gardens, which heralds the unofficial start of the Sydney autumn carnival.

Tommy Berry has a strong book of rides at Gosford. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

But Berry, the Sydney premiership pacesetter nearing the halfway mark of the season, said he was always going to Gosford where he is booked for six rides on the seven-race program.

“I like being busy but Wednesday is going to be a long, tough day as I have 15 trials at Rosehill before I go to Gosford,’’ Berry said.

“But I don’t have to ride under 55kg which is a help and when you have a few nice rides like Kim Waugh’s filly, French Bonnet, and Deepfield Magic for Robert and Luke Price, they are the ones you don’t want to miss out on.’’

Berry has to wait for the Gosford closer at 5.50pm to ride French Bonnet, the $3 favourite on TAB Fixed Odds in the Sneddon Bros Class 1 Handicap (1200m).

Trainer Kim Waugh has high hopes for French Bonnet at Gosford. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

French Bonnet is a grey three-year-old filly by former top stayer Puissance De Lune, while her dam, Bonny Heights, is a direct descendant of one of New Zealand racing’s most celebrated, stamina-laden families that includes Battle Heights, Mapperley Heights and Royal Heights.

But the Waugh-trained French Bonnet is not a one-paced plodder as evidenced when she broke her maiden at just her second start with an impressive, all-the-way win at Newcastle over 1200m last month.

Berry has not ridden French Bonnet in a race but he did put the filly through her paces in a Gosford barrier trial earlier this month.

“French Bonnet is a lovely, strong filly with a big stride,’’ Berry said.

“I think she would be better suited on a bigger track but she did trial nicely at Gosford the other day and she has had a look at the track which is a big help.

“The 1200m is probably going to be short of her best trip in the future so she has a few little things against her but I do believe she has a fair bit of quality on her side.’’

Tommy Berry has a busy riding schedule this week. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Berry has ridden Deepfield Magic under race conditions previously, scoring an emphatic three lengths win in a Moruya maiden last start.

Deepfield Magic left such an impression on Berry that day the jockey admitted he was surprised when the filly was rated at nearly double-figure odds ($9.50) for the Central Coast Granite Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m).

“They don’t win any easier than this filly did at Moruya,’’ Berry said. “I don’t think the (betting) market has taken note of that win. I was very impressed by her effort and felt she could almost go straight to town in the midweeks and be very competitive.’’

Deepfield Magic settled midfield at Moruya before sprinting quickly from the turn, opening up a big margin on her rivals then arrogantly coasting over the line three lengths clear, breaking 34s for her final 600m sectional.

Trainer Chris Waller hopes Yggdrasil can snare her first win on Wednesday at Gosford. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“I rode her with a sit and when I pulled her out from the corner she ran home in very good time and did it without me asking her to extend,’’ Berry said. “I actually eased her down a bit late and she still ran time. I think she will be very hard to beat at Gosford.’’

Among Berry’s other rides include the Chris Waller-trained Yggdrasil in the opener, a Three-year-old Maiden (1600m).

Yggdrasil, a daughter of dual Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls and named after the “immense and sacred tree in Norse cosmology”, was having only her second start when she ran a close second against older horses at Kembla Grange nearly three weeks ago.

“She led into the straight and then they came at her from everywhere but she kept fighting on for second,’’ Berry said. “I thought it was a really good effort and I know she will run the 1600m right out.’’


Urbino has been beaten as favourite in seven races but the often-maligned stayer has an admirer in trainer Kris Lees.

“The one thing about Urbino — he’s ultra-consistent,’’ Lees said.

“Since he has been in the country, he has only missed a place once for us in 15 starts and this campaign he has won three races.

“Any horse that can win three races in a preparation is doing a good job.’’

Urbino has been entered for the Benchmark 64 Handicap (2600m) at Gosford but Lees also has an option of reserving the former English stayer for a 2200m race at Scone on Thursday.

“I don’t think there is any problem with Urbino staying the 2600m so we are considering whether to run him at Gosford or wait for Scone,’’ Lees said. “There is not much difference in the depth of fields to be quite honest.’’

Kris Lees has a few options with Urbino. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Lees is looking forward to the debut of rising five-year-old Loch Lomond in the Maiden Plate (1100m). Loch Lomond has had two barrier trials in recent weeks to prepare for his debut and he shaped promisingly when second to the speedy juvenile filly Satin Ribbons at Gosford last week.

“I think Loch Lomond is going to be a very nice horse,’’ Lees said. “They might be a bit sharp for him around Gosford over 1100m as he’s probably going to be a miler in time, but his trial was good and he can run well on debut.’’

Meanwhile, Lees reported stable star Mugatoo — winner of the Newcastle Gold Cup, runner-up in The Metropolitan and a fourth placegetter in the Cox Plate last spring — is likely to have a barrier trial at Wyong on Tuesday.

“Mugatoo is coming up nicely for his autumn campaign,’’ Lees said.

“We are considering the All Star Mile (Autumn Carnival in Melbourne) and there is also the option of staying here for the Chipping Norton Stakes, but either way we will probably run him in the Apollo Stakes first-up over 1400m.’’

Originally published asGosford preview: Busy Berry can’t resist French miss

Source: Read Full Article