Tommy Berry will try to keep race favourite Vancouver in his comfort zone as he attempts to overcome a horror barrier in the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Vancouver drew eighteen out of nineteen at the Golden Slipper barrier draw on Tuesday but will jump from fifteen when the final field of sixteen lines up minus the three emergencies.
Berry will have many options going into the race, will he go forward or will he go back, or will he sit wide midfield, but the Group 1 winning jockey will play it as it unfolds in the first two hundred metres of the richest two year old race in the world.
“So the biggest thing I’ going to do is let him get out of the barriers and make sure he is in his comfort zone,” Berry wrote in his Sportsman column today.
“I think if you overdo form too much when you have drawn a wide barrier you make mistakes.”
“I’ll know where every horse is inside me but if you start trying to ride the race exactly the way you think it’ll pan out you’ll stuff it up ninety per cent of the time.”
Berry was initially disappointed that Vancouver had drawn the car park, but admits that the big striding colt might be better suited with plenty of space around him.
“He’s quite a big striding horse and is looking for 1400m to a mile so if he is going to get trapped a bit wide it’s not the end of the world.”
“I believe he is the best horse in the race so he can overcome it.”
If Vancouver leaves the gates cleanly Berry will put plan A into action and push forward but if the Gai Waterhouse trained colt doesn’t jump on terms with the rest of the field plan B and plan C will come into effect.
“If he is quickly out he will definitely press forward, there is no doubt about that, but if he does step away a bit slow you can ride him quiet,” Berry wrote.
“If they are going fast and I believe he is doing too much to be up there on the pace I can grab hold and take a sit. We’ll have an A, B and C plan.”
Vancouver goes into the Golden Slipper undefeated from three race starts and was posted as the favourite after winning the Group 2 $300,000 UNSW Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on March 7 by three and a quarter lengths in the scorching time of 1.8.83.
The Medaglia D’Oro colt sat just of the leader Furnaces in the Todman Stakes but showed at his previous start that he can settle back when he came from the tail of the six horse field to win the Group 3 $150,000 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on January 31.
While at his first race start he lead all of the way to win the Listed $100,000 NSW Thoroughbred Breeders’ Plate (1000m) at Randwick on October 4.
Vancouver has drifted marginally in the Golden Slipper betting but still remains as the $3.10 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Berry thinks the bookmakers have got it right with Exosphere the second pick at $4 and he expects the John O’Shea trained colt to be the hardest to beat while Headwater, a $12 chance, is also able to put in some claims.
“I think it’ll be between my bloke and Exosphere and I don’t think Headwater will be too far away either,” Berry said.
Latest Golden Slipper market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.10 Vancouver, $4 Exosphere, $12 Headwater, $13 Ready For Victory, $14 Furnaces $16 Haptic, $17 English, $18 Lake Geneva, $31 Speak Fondly, $31 Ottoman, $41 Fireworks, Reemah, $61 Single Gaze, Haybah, $71 Odyssey Moon $101 Serenade, Look To The Stars, $151 Racy, $301 Heavenly Hand.