The next 48 hours is huge in the career of jockey Nathan Berry who has a mountain of rides with plenty of good chances.
While he’s not on the favourite in every race he does have a group of horses which are genuine chances, horses that can win but only if he does everything right.
He can make a huge impact if he can pick up a bag of winners starting today at Gosford and continuing into Rosehill Gardens tomorrow.
The most important race is today when he jumps aboard Lioncub in the Listed Takeover Target Stakes.
It’s a very good field and is of course headlines by Gai Waterhouse’s big favourite Squamosa.
If Berry could claim that scalp today it would be a monstrous effort and you can guarantee he’ll be fielding a few more phone calls from interested owners and trainers over the next few weeks.
While he’s aware he’ll need a perfect run to get the prize, he has no doubt that the horse is good enough if he gets it right.
“You can’t fault the horses form,” he said.
“He was very impressive winning last start.”
He says that with a heap of speed in the race things could play right into his hands with a jump from barrier five.
“I think the way the race is going to play out today it’s going to be a high pressure race with plenty of speed on early,” he said.
“He won’t need to be right up there in the firing line, we can park him up and show a nice turn of foot.”
Trainer of Lioncub is Allan Denham and Berry is full of praise for the condition he’s got the horse into.
“I think has got the horse firing at the moment, I don’t think it matters what the conditions are,” he said.
Lioncub comes into the race with a very impressive run of form, two wins and two seconds from his last four starts.
While it’s a step up in grade today Berry says he’d prefer this challenge rather than trying to re-spark the interest of an out of form proven runner.
“I really like horses that are in form with no weight on their back,” he said.
“It’s (Squamosa) going to be hard to beat s but if I get anywhere near it I’ll be happy.”
If Berry can get the job done at Gosford today the wave of confidence will make him one to follow tomorrow when he gets to Rosehill tomorrow.
On that card he has plenty of rides with a couple in particular taking his interest.
First up in Race 1 he’s on San Jose for David Payne in an interesting two-year-old contest.
With two career starts it’s the second most experienced horse in the field and has finished fifth and runner up.
“I think tomorrow the horse is going to benefit from taking a sit,” Berry said.
“We’ve drawn a very good gate in barrier two so hopefully we can just sit on their backs.”
In Race 2 he moves up to the three-year-olds and this time it’s trainer Gerald Ryan’s horse Van Rossum.
He’s been consistent without being brilliant in his past few runs so Berry can see a bit of potential there for tomorrow.
“He raced on Saturday grade when I rode her two starts back, she held her ground really good so I told Ryan to step her up,” he said.
“I think the horse is going to need to improve a bit with plenty of luck.”
In Race 3 it’s again the three-year-olds, this time the fillies with Joe Pride’s Dizlago on the cards.
He says you can forget her previous form because Pride has only just got his hands on her, it’s a role he’s played before and Berry is impressed with his success.
“I just love these horses that Joe Pride gets from other trainer, he’s turned some horses around dramatically so hopefully this can be another,” he said.
Into Race 4 and it’s into Guy Walters stable with Outokafrika left with plenty to do from barrier 12 or 13.
Berry says he’ll be left with no choice but to settle at the back and as long as they go forward at a decent pace he rates himself as a hope.
“It definitely is in the mix, what I’m hoping is they run along like crazy and she can just get the last crack at them,” he said.
“Hopefully the track is playing fair tomorrow and he’ll have every chance.”
The final one worth mentioning is Code Word which runs over 2000m in Race 6.
In terms of future ability Berry rates this horse as a bit of a goer for the stables of trainer John Marzol.
“It surprised me last start, I didn’t really expect the turn of foot that the horse showed,” he said.
“If he can do the same on dry as he has been on a heavy then there’s nothing saying he can’t put them in the bag again.”
Code Word comes into the race off two wins in a row and three wins and a placing from his last four.