Tommy Berry believes that Fighting Sun is a genuine contender for the Group 1 2014 Golden Slipper (1200m) following a comfortable barrier trial win on the debut winner at Royal Randwick this morning.
Berry steered Fighting Sun to victory in the sixth barrier trial over 1050 metres today and told Sky Racing HQ that the performance of the Northern Meteor colt was better than it looked to the naked eye.
“He jumped very well and was straight on the bridle,” Berry said.
“He travelled nice in the trial and at the top of the straight he shot through the gap and hit the front at about the 150.
“He went on like he was about to win the trial by about four lengths, but there is a big shadow that goes over the course and when he saw that he half pulled-up and had a look at it.
“I had to make him find the line and it didn’t look as impressive as a lot of people were hoping, but he gave me a very nice feel.”
Fighting Sun made his racing debut with a narrow win over Boomwaa in the ATC Membership On Sale Plate (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on January 4 – a race that Berry missed due to suspension.
Berry may not have partnered Fighting Sun in a race to date, but he clearly rates the ability of the two-year-old and said that the Sun Bloodstock-owned colt is the horse that he wants to be on in the Golden Slipper at Rosehill Gardens on April 5.
“I believe that he is right up there with our best two-year-olds, maybe even our best, and I am looking forward to riding him,” Berry said.
“I think that he is a genuine slipper horse.
“He is a very laidback customer and takes everything in his stride, but once he jumps out of the barrier he knows that it is game on.”
Fighting Sun ($8) is currently on the third line of 2014 Golden Slipper betting markets; with Gerald Ryan-trained Rubick ($4.40) a narrow favourite from Darley filly Earthquake ($5.50).
Berry is aiming to become the first jockey since Shane Dye, who won the Golden Slipper four times from 1989 to 1992, to win the Golden Slipper in back-to-back years after piloting Overreach to victory in last year’s race.