Hong Kong’s new golden boy Tommy Berry arrived back on the Australian racing scene in fine style with an immediate goal to win back to back Golden Roses at Rosehill in September.
At his first day back riding after a very successful two month stint in Hong Kong where he rode twenty-two winners, Berry was able to kick home Stylish Lad a winner for trainer Clarry Conners in the 1500m Class 1 at Hawkesbury on Sunday.
Berry rode the Peter Snowden trained Epaulette to win his first Group 1 race in last season’s Group 1 $3.5m Golden Rose (1400m) and can’t wait to be reunited with Golden Slipper winner Overreach which will head Gai Waterhouse’s strong group of three year olds in the Spring.
“The Golden Rose was my first Group I win thanks to Epaulette and I’d really like to win it again,” Berry said.
“I went and saw her (Overreach) the other day and she looks amazing.”
“It’s great to be back in Australia riding.”
“And it’s good to get a win for Mr Conners. He has always been a great supporter of mine from early on.”
Berry took 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.”
Berry would have loved to be fighting out the premiership with Hugh Bowman and Nash Rawiller but has no regrets about heading overseas when he did.
“There were no guarantees with the premiership but Hong Kong was a certainty. It would’ve been great to be in this battle with Nash and Hughie,” Berry said.
“Just to have your name mentioned in a race with those two means you’re going well but honestly, what I’ve taken away from the trip is impossible to replace.”