The Group One race which announced Tommy Berry’s arrival on racing’s biggest stage is set to play another pivotal role in the young jockey’s career on Saturday.
Berry took his riding to a new level when he partnered Epaulette to win the 2012 Golden Rose for Sheikh Mohammed in a result which launched the 24-year-old on the way to stardom.
A second win in the $1 million race at Rosehill on Saturday would also be a triumph for opportunity after two of Berry’s best spring mounts fell by the wayside on Tuesday.
The spring is over for Vancouver, the $40 million colt Berry had been hoping would add the Golden Rose to their Golden Slipper victory.
It is also a lost cause for First Seal, the top-class mare Berry had been booked for in a campaign directed at the Epsom Handicap.
But out of the disappointment of Vancouver’s absence, Berry has at least been able to secure the Golden Rose ride on the Peter Moody-trained Gold Symphony.
Berry rode Gold Symphony for the first time at Randwick on Saturday morning and was suitably impressed with his track gallop.
“He’s a beautiful horse. He has a lot of presence about him and he does his work very easily,” Berry said.
Gold Symphony goes into the Golden Rose after wins in the Vain Stakes and McNeil Stakes in Melbourne and Berry said the colt would be advantaged over Saturday’s distance.
“It looks like he is a horse who is going to get better once he gets to 1400 (metres) and even a mile and he’s going to get that on Saturday,” he said.
Despite his promising Melbourne form, Gold Symphony is one of the outsiders of the nine horses which have accepted for Golden Rose.
Godolphin will have a third of the field with Shards ($12) and Holler ($13) considered more than capable support acts to the stable’s pre-post favourite Exosphere ($2.90).
Of the trio, Exosphere has drawn closest to the rail in gate two with Holler in five and Joao Moreira’s mount Shards to start from gate six.
The Chris Waller-trained Press Statement ($3.60) has stall three, ensuring the two favourites will start alongside each other while Speak Fondly has drawn four.
Hong Kong-based Brett Prebble has been cleared of serious injury and will ride Speak Fondly, the only filly in the race.
Speak Fondly is also the only runner bookmakers are rating as a threat to Exosphere and Press Statement, firming from $8 on Monday to $5 after the draw.
She will back-up after winning Saturday’s Furious Stakes trying to become just the second filly to claim the Golden Rose.