Jockey Tommy Berry has revealed that he is willing to settle Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer closer to the speed in the 2014 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield this afternoon.
The Offer was settled towards the tail of the field when he returned to racing with a solid performance in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 6, but the Montjeu gelding has shown plenty of tactical versatility during his racing career to dare and Berry told Racing Ahead that he would not hesitate to push forward on the talented stayer if, as expected, there is little early speed in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
“He can settle close in his races, he has done that before, and he has drawn a little bit awkward out in eight, but I will be able to try and plot him midfield or even a little bit closer if the pace is a bit steady,” Berry said.
“It is always a concern, but it is not his grand final, so as long as he gets a bit of cover somewhere and we can switch him out and let him run on again.
“If he wins it would be good, but he steps out over 2000 metres at Flemington a fortnight later, which will suit him quiet well and into the Caulfield Cup.
“He has a few big aims and this is just a stepping stone to the big one.”
Berry was not particularly confident about the chances of The Offer heading into the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes, but the five-year-old was able to finish within two lengths of the winner The Cleaner, in a performance that indicated he was on track for his major assignments during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
The leading Sydney hoop said that he was very happy with the first-up performance of The Offer and confirmed that trainer Gai Waterhouse has been delighted with the way the gelding came out of the run.
“He was a little bit underdone going into the run, but he got back and chased home well,” Berry said.
“It was a smart group of horses and he ran home in the second quickest sectionals behind Foreteller.
“He really excited us going forward into his preparation.
“Gai has been very pleased with him and it quiet surprised about how he did pull up.
“He had to kind of getting going from the 500 or 600 and go around the field and it is always a concern to do that first-up, but he has come through it with flying colours.
“His work has been great ever since.”
The Offer is currently available at 2014 Underwood Stakes odds of $7, while Silent Achiever ($3) remains a clear favourite from Foreteller ($5) and Stipulate ($5.50).