Jockey Nathan Berry admitted that he feared for the worst at the 2014 Magic Millions Classic barrier draw this morning but is delighted that Unencumbered will jump from barrier three in the $2 million Magic Millions Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Unencumbered was the last horse to have his barrier drawn and the Testa Rossa colt was a good chance to start from the outside of the field after a number of the inside gates were drawn early in proceedings.
Berry told TVN that he had already accepted a wide draw for Unencumbered, when the inside barriers were snapped up by his Magic Millions Classic rivals, but could not hide his delight that he managed to avoid a tricky situation from an outside gate.
“I wasn’t nervous going in to the barrier draw but when the bad barriers are left, that is when you start thinking,” Berry said.
“I already started half thinking tactically what I was going to do from 21 or 22.
“When you get left with barrier three you are laughing really.”
Baker revealed yesterday that Unencumbered would have a final piece of trackwork on the course proper on the Gold Coast this morning and Berry flew in from Sydney to give his thoughts on the two-year-old.
The rising jockey has ridden Unencumbered in all four of his race wins, with Chad Lever picking up the ride when he suffered his only defeat in the Men Of League Plate (1100m), and said that the classy colt felt as good as ever.
“I couldn’t be any happier with him,” Berry said.
“I didn’t expect him to work as well as he did, he just breezed through his work, and he is just an ultra-professional.
“Nothing fazes him, he had a decent gallop without doing too much and he pulls up like he has had a trot around the river.”
Unencumbered ($3.80) maintained his favoritism in 2014 Magic Millions Classic betting markets following the barrier draw but there has been plenty of support for Team Hawkes-trained Invisible, who is now a clear second favourite at odds of $4.50.
The two-year-old, who was purchased for $70,000, is chasing his fourth straight win after taking out the Ascend Sale Trophies Plate (1000m) at Randwick on December 7, the Wyong Magic Millions Classic (1100m) on December 19 and the Group 3 B.J. McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on December 28.