Tommy Berry looks likely to miss the final Group 1 of the 2016 – 2017 season, the $500,000 Sky Racing Tattersall’s Tiara (1350m) for the fillies and mares at Doomben on June 24, after being suspended for careless riding at the Stradbroke Handicap Race Day at Doomben last Saturday.
Berry is set to take up a twelve month riding contract in Hong Kong with top trainer John Moore when the new season starts in September but will now miss the opportunity of riding anther Group 1 winner for the current season if doesn’t appeal the severity of the suspension.
Racing Queensland stewards suspended Berry for twelve days, from midnight on June 17 until midnight on June 29, for causing interference over the concluding stages in the Group 1 $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) when he allowed his mount Good Project to shift ground causing interference to Ulmann.
Berry had earlier in the won the Group 2 $200,000 Dane Ripper Stakes (1350m) on the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Prompt Response who is now one of the main fancies for the Tattersall’s Tiara.
Bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au have Prompt Response sharing the second line of betting at $7 with the Kurt Goldman trained Eckstein while Stradbroke Handicap runner up In Her Time sits at the top of the Tattersall’s Tiara market order at $3.20.
Berry announced on twitter last Friday that he would be taking up a contract to ride in Hong Kong for Moore with whom he has already established a Group 1 winning combination which includes two wins this season on Helene Paragon at Sha Tin.
“I am very pleased to announce that I have been granted a contract by HKJC to be stable rider for John Moore next season,” Berry tweeted.
Helene Paragon with Berry in the saddle was able to win the Group 1 HK$10m The Stewards’ Cup (1600m) on January 30 and follow that up with a win in the Group 1 HK$10m The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) on February 26.
Berry had also ridden two Group 1 wins for Team Hawkes in the 2016 – 2017 Australian racing season with Inference saluting in the $1m Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 4 followed by a historic third win in the $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 1 on the mighty grey flash, Chautauqua.
Berry does a lot of riding for the Hawkes Team and was encouraged by co-trainer John Hawkes, who heads up the team with his sons Wayne and Michael, to take up the Hong Kong contract and now feels the time is right to accept the offer.
“John (Hawkes) said this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and he basically pushed me out the door,’’ Berry told The Daily Telegraph.
“But the Hawkes team have been such great supporters of mine and I felt I owed it to John, Michael and Wayne to talk it over with them.
“When John Moore first asked me back in 2013 I felt I was too young to move to Hong Kong.’’
“Then he asked me again the following year but (twin brother) Nathan had just passed away and I didn’t want to leave my family.
“There has always been something holding me back but now I believe the time is right to go to Hong Kong.’’
Berry is currently in fourth position with fifty-seven wins on the Sydney jockeys’ premiership table which is headed by Brenton Avdulla on seventy-three and half wins.