Jockey of the moment Tommy Berry will be back in Sydney next season to chase a premiership after accepting a short term contract to ride in Hong Kong to commence at the end of the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Berry, who captured the attention of Australian racing with a perfect ride on the Gai Waterhouse trained Overreach to win the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill last Saturday will replace Australian Tim Clark who is returning to Sydney at the end of the month.
“A Sydney premiership is something I desperately want to win but I am only 22 and I would like to think that I’ll have another opportunity to do so,” Berry said.
“You don’t get many chances to go to Hong Kong and I had to take it.”
Berry has forged a great association with the Waterhouse stable and while he was officially the stables number two rider, he was given a great opportunity when number one rider Nash Rawiller broke his ankle and was out of the saddle for two months.
With Rawiller on the sidelines, Berry was able to visit the winner’s stall on a regular basis and is currently leading the jockey’s premiership with fifty-one wins, half a win in front of Hugh Bowman.
Berry is keen to get a feel of the tough Hong Kong racing scene on a short term basis but is adamant he will return to Sydney and continue his rise through the jockey ranks.
“My intention is to remain in Sydney full time,”Berry said.
“I’m committed to Gai Waterhouse and want to come back and ride Overreach.
“It will be good to get a feel of Hong Kong and hopefully I’ll get to go back further down the track.”
Berry said that he was contacted by former Australian steward Steve Railton who is now on the stewards’ panel in Hong Kong, about a month ago, indicating that an opportunity could arise in Hong Kong and when he mentioned this to Waterhouse, the leading trainer gave her approval.
“I got a call about a month ago from Steve Railton, he mentioned that the Hong Kong Jockey Club had been watching me for a while and that I was in their sights,” Berry said.
“He mentioned that one of their club jockeys was leaving and asked whether I would be interested.
“I spoke to Gai about it and she said go for it, she knows that it is a great opportunity for myself.”
Berry reached the pinnacle of his career with his fourth Group 1 win in the Golden Slipper following on from his three Spring Group 1 victories.
The young jockey rode his first Group 1 winner for Darley trainer Peter Snowden when Epaulette beat stablemate Albrecht in the $1m Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill and followed that with a Group 1 winning double in the Spring for Waterhouse with wins on Fat Al in the $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) and Glencadam Gold in the $400,000 McGrath Estate Agents Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 6.
Berry also has two Magic Millions victories on his record after winning the $1.6m race for the two year olds in 2011 on Karuta Queen and the following year on Driefontein for Waterhouse.