Leading jockey Tommy Berry is free to ride at the Gold Coast Magic Millions meeting on January 11 next year after the Hong Kong Jockey Club decreased the length of his suspension to seven meetings.
Berry was originally suspended for ten Hong Kong meetings for failing to ride Smart Man to the line in the Berlin Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on the Hong Kong International Raceday, which meant that he would miss out on riding classy filly Echo Gal in the $2 million Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club gave Berry the opportunity to appeal against the severity of the charge over the phone and they elected to uphold the appeal – giving Berry the chance to maintain his stellar record at the meeting.
Berry was delighted with the decision and posted on Twitter last night that he can’t wait to get the Gold Coast to contest the meeting that he believes is one of the best on the Australian racing calendar.
“Thank you so much to the HKJC for taking the time to hear my appeal and reducing my time. Magic Millions here we come,” Berry posted.
“Can’t wait, would almost have to be my favourite race day on the Australian Calendar.”
Berry has a strong book of rides for the 2014 Magic Millions and will go into each of the major races with a strong winning chance; partnering Echo Gal in the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic, Sweet Idea in the Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) and Driefontein in the Magic Millions Fillies and Mares Handicap (1300m).
Echo Gal stamped herself as a Magic Millions contender with a dominant four lengths win on debut in the TAB Rewards Plate (1000m) at Warwick Farm last week and will have her next race start at Doomben on December 28 in the Bruce McLachlan Plate (1200m).
Sweet Idea won the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) before finishing third in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) as a juvenile but was restricted to one race start during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival after bleeding during her second place finish behind Thump in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m).
The Snitzel filly has past experience at the Magic Millions meeting having finished second behind Real Surreal in the 2013 edition of the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic.
Berry won the 2012 Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic on Driefontein and partnered the Fastnet Rock mare when she finished third behind Saluter and Sizzling in the 2013 Magic Millions Guineas.
Driefontein will contest the Magic Millions Fillies and Mares Handicap at the 2014 Magic Millions and looks to be in good condition after winning a barrier trial at Royal Randwick on December 2 in dominant fashion.
Berry is chasing his third win in the Magic Millions Classic after previously winning with Karuta Queen (2011) and Driefontein (2012).