Exciting young jockey Tommy Berry will be reunited with the Chris Waller trained Sacred Falls when he lines up in the Group 2 $175,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Berry replaces Hong Kong’s premiership winning jockey Zac Purton who is on the sideline recovering from a fractured heel and won’t be fit to ride until mid September.
Berry had been a regular aboard Sacred Falls since he joined the Waller stable at the beginning of 2013 and the pair combined to win the Group 1 $2m BMW Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival that year.
But Purton was called in to partner the O’Reilly stallion during this year’s Sydney Autumn Carnival and made flying visits back and forth from Hong Kong to complete his commitments.
The results were good for Purton with a fourth to Gordon Lord Byron in the Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 29 before Sacred Falls with Purton aboard took out his second Doncaster Mile in heavy conditions.
Purton and Scared Falls then combined one more time for a second to It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 19, the second day of ‘The Championships’.
Waller is aiming Sacred Falls towards the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and Berry knows that he is only warming the saddle for Purton who will be fully recovered from his heel injury by then.
Purton has been riding with the heel problem for some time and the extent of the injury was only discovered after a flair-up while riding in Japan after claiming is first Hong Kong jockey’s premierships, ending a thirteen year reign by champion South African jockey Douglas Whyte.
The well-travelled jockey returned to Sydney to recuperate and is now confident that he will be fit to ride when the Hong Kong racing season resumes on September 14.
“It’s disappointing that it took this long to figure out what was wrong,” Purton told the South China Morning Post.
“I had numerous CT scans and X-rays, but it wasn’t until the MRI that the extent of the injury was revealed.
“I wish I had found out sooner. I was walking around Osaka on it and rode as well. But at least now I can rest and let it get better before the start of the season.”
“There’s still time for it to get better. I’m just going to put my feet up here in Sydney and I’ll be back ready for mid-September.”
Sacred Falls is well in contention in the Cox Plate market order with Ladbrokes.com.au at $15 alongside of Hong Kong Group1 winner Dan Excel and English galloper Mukhadram.
Multiple Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Silent Achiever heads the betting at $11 just in front of Irish galloper Adelaide at $13.