Jockey Tommy Berry gives Our Boy Malachi the best chance yet to claim Group 1 glory when he steps out in the Group 1 $500,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Our Boy Malachi is the winner of eighteen of his twenty-two race starts and has saluted at Group 2 and Group 3 level, but is yet to collect a Group 1 trophy.
Berry has been aboard the Top Echelon seven year old for his last four starts for wins in the Group 3 $150,000 Ticketek Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Randwick druing the 2015 Sydney Autumn Carnival and a first up win in the Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on January 30.
In between Berry was able to steer Our Boy Malachi into third place behind Hot Snitzel and Knoydart in the Group 1 $500,000 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben during the Brisbane Winter Carnival last year but then at is next start two weeks later in the Group 1 $750,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m), Our Boy Malachi bled during the race and finished at the tail of the field.
While Berry considers the Canterbury Stakes is a high quality race with Group 1 winners Criterion, Kermadec and First Seal to go around, there are no real top class sprinters in the calibre of Chautauqua and Terravista to contend with.
“If he can’t win one (Group 1) on Saturday, I’m not sure if it is going to get any easier over the Autumn again, he might have to wait until the winter,” Berry told the Sportsman.
“This is the time to shine without the better sprinters there and with a lot of them going for the Newmarket.”
The Melbourne Autumn Carnival is in fully spring as well with the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) to be run at Flemington on March 12.
Berry was full of praise for the Hawkes Racing Team in the way that they produced Our Boy Malachi to win the Expressway Stakes first up after suffering a bleeding attach during the Winter.
The father-sons training partnership of John, Wayne and Michael have given Our Boy Malachi plenty of time to get over his first up run and have given him a jump out and a soft barrier trial in preparation for the Canterbury Stakes.
“The Hawkes Team have done a brilliant job getting him back as well as they have,” Berry said.
“He’s had a long time in between runs which is good, he’s been able to have a trial and jump out.”
Berry said that Our Boy Malachi was a little bit slow to leave the barriers in the trial, but was not concerned if he repeated that on race day.
“He was a little slow away again in his trial but he wasn’t out there too burn the track up, just to keep his fitness.”
“Even if he is a neck slow it gives him time to build up and he should get his own way.”
“If Holler beats us out and wants to lead, I am not going to get into a fight with it, he has taken a sit plenty of times before and won.”
Our Boy Malachi is well up the market order at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Canterbury Stakes and is on the second line of betting at $3.30 behind First Seal at $2.75.
Canterbury Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.75 First Seal, $3.30 Our Boy Malachi, $6 Kermadec, $7.50 Holler, $9 Criterion, $15 Happy Clapper, $31 Ecuador.