Tommy Berry partnered 2014 Cox Plate contender Dan Excel in a series of trackwork gallops last week and the leading Sydney hoop was impressed with the condition of the Group 1 winning gelding.
Dan Excel has not been seen at the races since he took out the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup, with Berry on his back, at Kranji on May 18, but has started preparations for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) after arriving in Australia to serve out his quarantine requirements at the start of last month.
Berry told Correct Weight on Sunday that Dan Excel had taken plenty of benefit from being able to spend time in a paddock and said that he is excited to see how the six-year-old progresses during his stint in Australia during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
“He has come back really well,” Berry said.
“He has put on a bit of condition, which is the first time that I have seen him carry a bit of condition.
“In Hong Kong they are in a box 24/7 and they don’t get to get out, so it has been a while since he has been in a paddock.
“He was at the beautiful farm of Muskoka and he has come back very well.
“I will be catching up with (trainer) John Moore in the next week or so and he will probably come down and watch him work on Wednesday.
“I am looking forward to seeing what he thinks of him because he knows him better than anyone, but off his work he has come back nice and strong and fresh.
“I am looking forward to seeing how he progresses this campaign.”
Dan Excel is set to make his Australian racing debut in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 6, but is unlikely to be ridden by Berry who has been booked to ride 2014 Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer on the same day.
Berry is hoping to make his debut in the Cox Plate this year after he was passed over for the ride on Fiorente in the 2013 edition of the race.
Dan Excel ($15) is currently on the fourth line of the 2014 Cox Plate betting market with Ladbrokes Australia, behind talented Kiwi mare Silent Achiever ($11), Aidan O’Brien-trained Magician ($14) and English Group 1 winner Mukhadram ($14)