Jockey Tommy Berry is confident that the heavy Royal Randwick track will not be a problem for Almalad when he returns to the races in the 2014 The Run To The Rose this weekend.
Almalad has recorded three wins from as many race starts since making his racing debut at Gosford last year and he is yet to race on a wet track, with the dead five in the Early Quaddie Plate (1200m) at Royal Randwick on May 24 the worst track that the Al Maher gelding has raced on.
While Berry admits he can’t be sure that Almalad will get through the heavy going in The Run To The Rose, he told TVN that the talented three-year-old gives him every impression that the wet track will not be an issue.
“He’s very light on his feet, he’s not overly big and he skips over the ground in his work,” Berry said.
“It would not surprise me to see him get through it at all, but with 60 kilos that’s going to be the telling point especially against horses that have already had a start.
“The tracks have been quite wet so getting work into him has been a bit of a problem, but he’s still fit enough to run on Saturday.”
Trainer Gai Waterhouse said earlier in the week that she would be very surprised if Almalad was beaten in The Run To The Rose and she believes that the undefeated gelding is good enough to win the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m), Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Berry has an extremely high opinion of Almalad, but he revealed that he would not be surprised if the J.J. Atkins winner suffered his first race defeat with 60 kilograms on his back in The Run To The Rose on Saturday.
“He will obviously be much better when he gets to 1400 and a mile,” Berry said.
“It wouldn’t disappoint or surprise me if he got beaten, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if he won either.”
Almalad is currently available at 2014 The Run To The Rose odds of $3.70 and is a clear favourite from Team Hawkes-trained Nostradamus ($5.50), J.J. Atkins runner-up Brazen Beau ($6), Godolphin colt Sarajevo ($7) and the undefeated Hallowed Crown ($7.50).