Hong Kong bound jockey Tommy Berry is eyeing off back to back Doncaster Mile wins with the potential Group 1 performer Ecuador.
Berry was able to sneak up along the fence on Sacred Falls to take out last years’ Group 1 $2m BMW Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick in April and he believes Ecuador will develop into a first class ‘miler’.
“I think he is a Doncaster horse and I know it is going to be a very good race,” Berry told the Sportsman.
“He can run 2000m but not at Group 1 level so I think a mile at Randwick is right for him.”
The Gai Waterhouse trained four year old worked his way up through the classes in dynamic fashion during the Spring and showed that he had the potential to mix it at the top level when he ran a mighty race to finished sixth to Boban in the Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 5.
Ecuador is having his first run back since making his Group 1 debut last Spring in the $85,000 February Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday and has been readied for his comeback with a second and a win in two recent Randwick barrier trials.
Berry, who rode the High Chaparral gelding in the Epsom, is back in the saddle at Rosehill and said that Ecuador has done plenty of work for his first up run.
“He’s had a fair bit of work going into the race and a couple of trials,” Berry said.
“I wouldn’t expect to see a blistering turn of foot and he is drawn a bit of an awkward barrier but he will put himself right there.”
“I was really impressed with him last preparation. He went from winning a mid-week at Canterbury to running sixth in the Epsom and not being beaten all that far.”
“I feel that he has made the necessary improvement to win a Group 1 this autumn.”
Ecuador showed last preparation that he was at his best out in front and Berry is certain to let him slide across from gate eight and is likely to take up his usual front running position.
Berry is set to take up a second three month riding stint with the Hong Kong Jockey Club after the completion of the Sydney Autumn Carnival and is hoping history can repeat itself after winning the Doncaster Mile last year before he commenced riding in Hong Kong at the end of last season.
Ecuador has been installed a short priced $2.30 favourite for his return to the racetrack in the February Handicap with the Chris Waller trained Velrosso at $6 ahead of Limes, Red Excitement and Mecir all on the next line of betting at $7.
And the Waterhouse trained gelding is currently marked as the $9 second favourite behind dual Group 1 winner Boban ($8) in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 12.