Vancouver stamped himself as the best two-year-old in Australia when he took out the 2015 Golden Slipper, but jockey Tommy Berry is confident that the star colt will be even better during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Vancouver made his racing debut with a strong win in the Listed New South Wales Thoroughbred Breeders Plate (1000m) at Royal Randwick on October 4 last year and he proved that win was no fluke when he returned to racing with a fast-finishing victory in the Group 3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on January 31.
The Medaglia D’Oro colt stamped himself as a clear Golden Slipper favourite when he recorded a dominant victory in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on March 7 and he defied a wide gate to deliver Berry his second Golden Slipper win at Rosehill Gardens on March 21.
Vancouver was expected to be given the opportunity to replicate the feat of Pierro and claim the two-year-old Triple Crown by winning the Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) and the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m), but trainer Gai Waterhouse elected to send him to the spelling paddock.
Berry told Racing Ahead yesterday that he has always been confident that Vancouver would be a better horse as a three-year-old and he believes that his rivals will have plenty of trouble beating the Golden Slipper winner in the spring.
“He is another big reason that I am keen to stay in Australia because you don’t ride colts like that very often,” Berry said.
“He is very special and I believe that he is going to do some very good things over the spring in Melbourne because anybody that saw him as a two-year-old and looked at him in the yard, he didn’t look like a two-year-old and the ability got him there.
“He was always going to be better as a three-year-old and I am really looking forward to that because anybody that couldn’t beat him as a two-year-old over the autumn will find him very hard to beat him over the spring.”
Vancouver is likely to be set for the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) in the early stages of his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign before he heads to Melbourne for races like the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 10 and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
Vancouver is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $17 with Ladbrokes, while Contributer ($8) is a narrow favourite from Criterion ($9), Our Ivanhowe ($11), Pornichet ($11), Hartnell ($13) and Kermadec ($13).