In-form jockey Tommy Berry teamed up again with multiple Group 1 winner Designs On Rome to win the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 The Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Sunday’s win was Berry’s and the John Moore trained Designs On Rome’s fourth Group 1 win together and the top Sydney based jockey said the six year old felt as good as ever.
“He feels the same as when I rode him in the past,” Berry said.
Berry settled Designs On Rome at the tail of the field but started to make a move coming to the 800m and the Holy Roman Emperor gelding was challenging for the lead inside the 400m and went on to record a half lengths win over Helene Happy Star who was ridden by Hong Kong’s leading rider Joao Moreira.
Ironically it was Moreira who steered Designs On Rome to win the 2015 Hong Kong Gold Cup.
Berry said that he was happy to make an early move on Designs On Rome who he knew would be strong at the end of the 2000m.
“I always like to get going a little early on him because he stays further than 2000 metres without quite getting a strong 2400,” Berry said.
“And I didn’t want to be too far behind Neil Callan on Blazing Speed (race favourite) because if he was able to get away from me I thought we’d be in trouble.”
“He doesn’t give any sort of feel from the gates, but as soon as I give him a click up at the half-mile he gets going and finds three or four lengths.”
Winning trainer John Moore was very pleased to see Designs To Rome return to the Group 1 winner’s list after minor arthroscopic surgery on both forelegs last year.
“Every trainer has their concerns after surgery – I’ve had arthroscopic surgery and I can’t bowl a cricket ball anymore! It’s hard, to think that he may not come back the same horse, but the operation went great, his joints are still tight, we never lost a day with him; it took time to get him back in the coat,” Moore said.
“Everyone said his trial wasn’t good enough but I knew exactly where he was, what he’d done, and it was enough to just top him off and he’s returned today the horse he’s been over the past few seasons. He’s the best.
“He’s not travelling anywhere, he’ll go into the AP QEII Cup at the end of April – then we’ll just look after him.”
The Hong Kong Gold Cup was Berry’s fifth win on Designs On Rome, which included four Group 1 wins.
Their other Group 1 wins together at Sha Tin were the 2014 HK$14m The Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2000m), 2014 HK$16m The BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) and the 2014 HK$6m The Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m).
Berry has been riding in dynamic form and even though he didn’t ride a winner at Randwick last Saturday, he rode four winners at Rosehill the previous week and Designs On Rome was his tenth winner since February 18.