Tommy Berry has been booked to ride Messene in the 2015 Missile Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday and the leading Sydney jockey is happy with the feel he was given by the resuming galloper in a barrier trial at Rosehill Gardens this morning.
Messene made his first public appearance in almost a year when he finished third behind Himalaya Dream and Temple Of Boom in a barrier trial over 900 metres at Rosehill Gardens on July 21 and he hit the line strongly under a heavy hold at the same venue this morning in his final piece of serious work before he contests the Missile Stakes this weekend.
Berry told Sky Racing HQ that he was pleased with the effort of Messene in the barrier trial this morning and he is happy with the condition of the Lonhro gelding heading into his first race start since he finished ninth in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in September last year.
“He trialed really well,” Berry said.
“He did it pretty much on the bit.
“He travelled in third behind Bounding and I loved the way that he quickened up the straight without me asking him to do anything.
“It was only a soft trial because he does race Saturday.
“He only takes light preparations from what the Hawkes team have told me and he hasn’t had many runs, but he felt very strong to me.
“I haven’t ridden him very often, but in his trial he gave me a nice feel and he has felt great when I have ridden him at home.
“Last preparation he ran second first-up to Sweet Idea and she is a very quick mare, so he did a good job to run second to her.
“We know he goes well first-up, but against a horse like Temple Of Boom he is going to have to be on his game.”
Messene stamped himself as a horse to watch when he recorded seven straight victories in the lead-up to the 2014 edition of the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and he finished a credible seventh despite failing to handle the wet surface.
Big things were expected of Messene during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and he started his campaign with a close second behind Sweet Idea in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 9, but he was sent to the spelling paddock after he failed to fire in both the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 and the Makybe Diva Stakes.
Messene has recorded nine wins from only 16 race starts and he has accumulated almost $500,000 in prizemoney for connections.