The prospect of a heavy track for the running of the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill tomorrow hasn’t dented the confidence of jockey Tommy Berry aboard race favourite Overreach.
The Rosehill track was downgraded to a heavy 8 this morning after more overnight rain which took the week’s total to 31mm with Australian Turf Club track manager Lindsay Murphy not expecting the track to improve a great deal even with some sunshine.
“The track is quite damp, it has been soaking rain and it doesn’t look like we will improve too much,” Murphy said.
“We had another 8mm and the forecast is for scattered showers so it is possible we could get a little more.
“The sun is out at the moment and we could be a chance of an upgrade to a slow but I can’t see it improving much more than that.”
But Berry won’t hear of anything standing in the way of riding his first Golden Slipper winner on the Gai Waterhouse trained Overreach, not even a heavy track.
“I’ve worked her when it has been a bog at Randwick and she got through it without any issues so I don’t think the track will be an excuse,” Berry said.
“She is by Exceed And Excel which handle the wet, out of a Snippets mare which absolutely loved it.”
“You watch her in a race. Her stride, she’s got beautiful big stride. She looks like she is just cruising along even when she is running time, you know. So them horses usually get through the wet.”
Berry has stuck to his normal routine leading up to race day even though this is not a normal race day and he is riding the favourite for the richest two year old race in the world.
The talented young jockey is full of confidence and will use that high to handle the pressure that is mounting getting closer to start time.
“I’d rather have the pressure of being on the favourite than anything else,” Berry said.
“As long as she does what she’s shown so far there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.”
“I’ll ride her like there is nothing else in the race and get her in her comfort zone, whether that’s in front or the first four.”
“She has the best form, she is trained by Gai Waterhouse, she has barrier one and she has the speed to use it to her advantage.”
Overreach, who has drawn the coveted number one barrier, has dominated the Golden Slipper market with two scintillating wins during the Autumn and is currently at the very short price of $2.50.
Berry had Overreach quickly out of the barriers in the Listed $100,000 Widden Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on February 16 and went on to win by five and three quarter lengths and then using the same tactics scored by four and a quarter lengths beating Villa Verde in the Group 2 $300,000 Moet & Chandon Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 23.
The Exceed And Excel filly spearheads Waterhouse’s assault on the Golden Slipper with the top Randwick trainer also saddling up Silver Slipper winner Sweet Idea and smart colt Whittington who took out the $100,000 Lonhro Plate (1100m) at Warwick Farm on March 9.
If Waterhouse can win her fifth Golden Slipper with either one of her two year olds, the effervescent trainer will edge one win closer to equalling the record of her legendary father, Tommy Smith, who won the famous race on six occasions.
Waterhouse won her first Golden Slipper in 2001 with Ha Ha with Jim Cassidy aboard, followed by Dance Hero with Chris Munce in 2004.
Sebring then saluted for Waterhouse in 2009 when ridden by Glen Boss and she could produce back to back victories after Pierro scored an outstanding win last year.
The Peter Snowden trained Sidestep, with the blinkers on for the first time, is the only other runner under double figures at $9 with Sweet Idea at $10.
Trainer Shaun Dwyer is expecting Villa Verde to strip a much fitter filly following her first-up second to Overreach but the filly has to overcome the horror draw of one from the outside and has been posted a $12 chance.