The Melbourne Cup dream is still alive for top Sydney jockey Tommy Berry even though his long time ride The Offer was ruled out of a start in the famous ‘two mile’ race at Flemington next Tuesday.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse notified Racing Victoria stewards on Wednesday that she would not be accepting with the one-time favourite for the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) because of a leg injury.
But the talented Berry was quickly snapped up by prominent owner Lloyd Williams to ride either one of his imports Sea Moon or Amralah.
Sea Moon is one of Williams’ three runners already qualified for the Melbourne Cup along with 2012 winner Green Moon and last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner.
While English import Amralah is thirty-seventh in the order of entry but will gain an exemption from the Melbourne Cup ballot if he can win the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
“It’s a race every jockey in the world wants to ride in and the good thing about Lloyd’s horses is he gets them ready for the Melbourne Cup,” Berry told The Age.
“They always perform well and they can always turn their form around. He did offer me a ride in the Cox Plate last year (on Masked Marvel), but I’d already taken a full book of horses in Sydney at that stage.
“And to tell you the truth, I’ve been that busy I haven’t even had a look at Sea Moon’s form. I couldn’t even tell you what I think of him.
“But Lloyd wouldn’t be going into the race if he didn’t think it was a competitive chance. He’s a great owner and he does a great job with European stayers. He does a great job for Australian racing and it’s a privilege to have a Melbourne Cup ride for him.”
Sea Moon has only won one of his eight race starts for Williams since arriving in Australia last year when he took out the Group 2 $220,000 Sportingbet Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield during the 2013 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
The seven year old has had two runs this Spring for a first up fifth to Who Shot Thebarman in the Group 3 $150,000 The Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington on October 4 then finished at the tail of the field when eighteenth to Admire Rakti in the Group 1 $3m Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 18 after crossing from the outside barrier and taking up the lead.
Amralah will be having his first run in Australia in the Mackinnon Stakes on Saturday and has arrived from England on the back of wins in the Listed £20,983 Doom Bar Stakes (1 mile, 2 furlongs) at Newbury on July 19 and the Group 3 £63,000 Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Stakes (1 mile 2 ½ furlongs) at Haydock on August 9.
Amralah is rated a $13 chance with Ladbrokes.com.au for the Mackinnon Stakes while in Melbourne Cup betting he is marked at $41.
While Sea Moon is also one of the roughies in the Melbourne Cup market order at $101.