Tommy Berry is eyeing off the Melbourne Cup ride on the imported Fiorente as he settles back into the hectic Sydney racing scene after a successful riding stint in Hong Kong.
Berry rode the Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente when the stayer ran a mighty race when third to All To Hard in the Group 1 $400,000 Yarraman Park All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 27 before he headed off overseas and is keen to get back on board the five year old.
“Hopefully Gai will let me on Fiorente,” Berry said.
“I rode him in the All Aged Stakes and I couldn’t believe his turn of foot. That was over 1400 metres so I can only imagine how much more explosive it’ll be over 3200 metres in the Melbourne Cup.
“I know he ran in it last year but these European horses are trained differently.Manighar’s turn of foot completely changed when he joined Peter Moody’s stable and I reckon Gai’s doing the same thing with this bloke.”
But Berry will have a task ahead of him to remove Waterhouse’s number one jockey Nash Rawiller who was aboard the five year old when a slashing Randwick trial winner last Friday.
Waterhouse’s racing manager Bruce Slade was on hand to witness Fiorente take care of a smart field in the 1400m trial and couldn’t hide his excitement..
“Oh my God, horses just don’t go like that,” Slade said.
“He was three or more lengths off the second last horse and he just rounded up all these Group 1 winners. It was amazing.”
“We just have to try and keep a lid on him.”
One of Waterhouse’s other staying imports, Glencadem Gold finished third in the trial and that was the horse that Berry got his first taste of riding in the ‘race that stops the nation’ when sixth to Green Moon in last year’s Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
Berry has only just returned to Australia after taking up a short term contract in April to ride in Hong Kong while leading the Sydney jockey’s premiership as a result of a stellar year that saw him ride five Group 1 winners including the Group 1 $3.5m AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on Overreach and the Group 1 $2m BMW Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on Sacred Falls during the Autumn.
“What I achieved in Hong Kong made me realise I made the right decision,” Berry said.
“I wasn’t guaranteed to win the premiership here and imagine if I was sitting in the jockeys’ room in second place wondering what would’ve happened if I had of gone to Hong Kong.”