Leading Sydney jockey Tommy Berry has been booked to ride talented Japanese galloper Tosen Stardom in the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Connections of Tosen Stardom revealed last month that he would be sent to Australia for both the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21 and the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 11 and Berry told TVN this morning that he had gladly accepted the opportunity to ride the Deep Impact entire in both races.
“I received a phone call from Mr (John) Messara as he had been contacted by Japanese connections inquiring whether I would be available,” Berry said.
“I spoke with Gai Waterhouse and she didn’t have much for me heading towards the Queen Elizabeth so I got in touch with the Japanese owners and locked in the ride.
“I was offered a contract to ride in Japan before I went to Hong Kong, apparently they have had their eyes on me for a while and it is great to be able to get on a horse with plenty of upside.
“The Japanese horses have showed how good they are when they come here and hopefully it could lead to more opportunities.”
Tosen Stardom stamped himself as a horse to watch when he took out the Group 3 Kisaragi Sho (1609m) at Kyoto in February last year, but he was unable to reproduce that impressive performance in both the Group 1 Japanese 2000 Guineas (2011m) at Nakayama on April 20 and the Group 1 Japanese Derby (2413m) at Tokyo on June 1.
The four-year-old produced an improved performance when he finished eighth behind Toho Jackal in the Group 1 Japanese St Leger (3018m) at Kyoto on October 26 and he returned to winning form with a professional victory in the Group 3 Challenge Cup (1800m) at Hanshin on December 13.
Tosen Stardom will be joined in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes by fellow Japanese galloper To The World, who finished second behind champion mare Gentildonna in the Group 1 Armina Kinen (2500m) at Nakayama on December 28.
To The World ($5) is currently on top of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes betting market with Ladbrokes and is a clear favourite from Cox Plate winner Adelaide ($6.50), Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist ($7.50) and German import Ivanhowe ($11), while Tosen Stardom is available at a quote of $11.