Sydney’s leading jockey Tommy Berry received the green light to face off against twin brother Nathan when he was given a reduction on his suspension he incurred in Hong Kong and will be free to ride in the $2m Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 11.
Tommy Berry’s ten meeting ban for failing to ride his mount out in a minor race on Hong Kong International Races Day was reduced on appeal freeing him to partner the Gai Waterhouse trained Echo Gal in the Magic Millions.
While twin brother Nathan shot into the Magic Millions spotlight by kicking home the Bjorn Baker trained two year old Unencumbered in the $200,000 Magic Millions Wyong 2yo Classic (1100m) at Wyong on Thursday.
“I thought I had got rid of Tommy, but the stewards were good to him in Hong Kong,” Nathan said after the Wyong win.
“There’s nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry.
“I think the horse to beat is Echo Gal, but Tom said to me my horse was the one who definitely scares him. He knows what it takes to win a Magic Millions, so if he’s telling me that.”
Echo Gal, an impressive Warwick Farm winner on debut, remains at the head of betting for the Gold Coast Magic Millions at $5.50 while Unencumbered edged his way up the market order and is now aa $6.50 chance with the Danny Bougoure trained filly Oakleigh Girl splitting the pair at $6.
Nathan Berry said that he went against Baker’s riding instruction to have the colt closer to the pace and had him at the back in the six horse field.
But with Sheer Style certain to put plenty of pace into the race, Berry was confident that Unencumbered would be the stronger two year old at the finish.
“I spoke to (trainer) Bjorn (Baker) before the race and he said maybe sit outside the leader, and he wanted me closer than initially planned,” Nathan Berry said.
“But I bit the bullet and went against the instructions, mainly because I knew how good this horse is. His main goal is the Magic Millions, and I didn’t want to take him away from his pattern. He’s finally learned to settle. He’s a very, very serious horse.”
While Sheer Style ($1.85 favourite) wobbled around the home turn, Berry was moving forward on Unencumbered ($2.60) and ran away over the concluding stages to win by a length from Geromayo ($10) with the favourite hanging on for third.
Tommy Berry is keen to get back to the Gold Coast where has already claimed two Magic Millions two year old Classics on Karuta Queen (2011) and Driefontein (2012).
“Can’t wait, would almost have to be my favourite race day on the Australian Calendar,” Tommy Berry tweeted.
“Thank you so much to the HKJC for taking the time to hear my appeal and reducing my time. Magic Millions here we come.”