Tommy Berry will take a lead from fellow jockeys Hugh Bowman and Nash Rawiller and base himself in Melbourne as he joins forces with Gai Waterhouse as they get set to dominate the 2014 Spring Carnival.
Berry has made a meteoric rise to the top of the jockey ranks in Australia and Hong Kong and feels if he bases himself in Melbourne for a couple of months as Bowman and Rawiller have done in the past will help him capture plenty of feature races.
“I’ll spend a couple of months here,” Berry said at the press conference at Moonee Valley on Tuesday following the release of the nominations for the major races of the Caulfield Carnival and the Cox Plate.
“The spring is something that’s eluded me at the moment – I’ve ridden Group 1s all around the world – but Melbourne’s one place where I really want to get that last one up and I believe I can do it this spring.”
“If you’re really serious about it you’ve got to set yourself up here like a lot of the big jockeys do, like Hugh Bowman and Nash, and I’ll do the same this year.
“It might be that I just have to go back to Sydney (when required), because it’s a lot easier to go back to Sydney and ride.
“Obviously I’m based there, I know all the tracks very well and I know all the horses very well, so coming to Melbourne over the spring I think is a little bit more important.”
Berry and Waterhouse are set to start the Melbourne Spring Carnival with plenty of ammunition and at this stage will team up with top fancies in the Caulfield Guineas, The Cox Plate as well as the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
New season three year old Almalad won the last two year old Group 1 of the 2013-2014 season when he beat Brazen Beau in the$500,000 Tatts Group J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Carnival and has been installed as one of the early favourites for the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11.
At the close of nominations with the Melbourne Racing Club yesterday, there were two hundred and eighty-one three year olds entered with Almalad one of seven from the Waterhouse stable.
Berry and Waterhouse are also set to team up Her Majesty The Queen’s horse Carlton House at Moonee Valley on October 25 in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) which attracted a record two hundred and twenty-five horses at close of nominations with the Moonee Valley Racing Club yesterday.
Carlton House was installed the early favourite for Cox Plate after a much improved Sydney Autumn Carnival which saw the English import placed twice at weight for age in Group 1 company.
The Street Cry stallion was denied a win in the Group 1 $500,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 22 when beaten in a tight finish by super Kiwi mare Silent Achiever, who is also among the Cox Plate nominations.
Then at his next start Carlton House finished a gallant third to another super Kiwi galloper It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 19, the second day of ‘The Championships’.
And Berry and Waterhouse will be hoping to keep the momentum going with Sydney Cup winner The Offer in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 18 and the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.
The Offer showed that he was a potential Spring Carnival Cups horse and was installed among the top chances after completing a hat trick of wins during the Sydney Autumn Carnival with a dominate win in the Group 1 $1m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick.