Pin up jockey Tommy Berry will replace a disappointed Jason Collett on Elusive Runner in the Group 1 $500,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7.
Collett found himself in the stewards room after running second on the John Sargent trained three year old and was threatened to be sent back to apprentice school after a below par ride in the BenchMark 73 Handicap over 2000m at Randwick last Saturday.
After letting the $4.20 favourite drop to the tail of the field, Collett elected to circle the field on the home turn and half way down the straight just as Elusive Runner was gaining momentum, he dropped his near side rein and took almost 100m before regathering it.
Once balanced up again Elusive Runner regained momentum and flashed home to be get within half a length of the Bjorn Baker trained Off The Rails, with Collett admitting that he had cost the favourite the race.
“Do we have to send you back to apprentice school?” chief steward Ray Murrihy asked Collett.
“That was terribly untidy. It could have been the difference between winning and losing had you kept at him.”
Collett agreed with Murrihy and admitted dropping the reins at a crucial point in the straight.
“I dropped the reins,” said Collet who knew that he had little chance of retaining the ride for the Queensland Derby.
Sargent said that Elusive Runner’s Asian owners met in Macau and Berry has been booked for the Derby ride.
Berry is quickly building up a solid book of rides for Eagle Farm in two weeks and has also been engaged to ride top fancy Rebel Dane in the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) and two year old Almalad for Gai Waterhouse in the Group 1 $500,000 J.J. Atkins (1600m) .
Berry takes over from Glen Boss on the Gary Portelli trained Rebel Dane who finished fourth to Spirit Of Boom in the Group 1 $650,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m) at Doomben last Saturday.
While Waterhouse will send Almalad to Brisbane after scoring a very impressive three and a half lengths win over 1200m at Randwick last Saturday.
All three of Berry’s Group 1 rides are well up in the market order at Ladbrokes.com.au with Elusive Runner marked on the fourth line of betting in the Queensland Derby at $8 behind $5 favourite Vilanova.
While Rebel Dane is the second pick at $6 behind Srikandi ($4.60) in the Stradbroke Handicap and Almalad is also on the second line of betting for the J J Atkins at $6 with the Chris Waller trained Brazen Beau the short priced favourite at $2.30.