Tommy Berry pocketed a couple of feature race wins in Brisbane on Kingsford-Smith Cup day but nothing was going to stop him getting back to Sydney this week to reunite with boom two-year-old Exceedance.
The in-form hoop has an outstanding book for a host of top trainers at Rosehill on Saturday but it is the Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes-trained colt he is most looking forward to riding.
“Obviously, I had some nice rides up there last week and we’ll go on to race there next weekend, but I had a really good book here this weekend and I didn’t want to miss out on some good opportunities, especially with the two-year-old Exceedance,” Berry said.
Exceedance created a huge impression when he produced a stunning turn of foot to come from near-last on the turn at Wyong and score a phenomenal win.
Berry was taken aback by the colt’s performance but says his challenge will be to replicate that against a more experienced field of youngsters.
“To do what he did on that day, it doesn’t get done at Wyong very often and especially by an inexperienced two-year-old having its first start,” Berry said.
“We can all get carried away with horses at their first start, especially two-year-olds, and he’s got to go out and do it again against some pretty experienced horses.
“It’s always harder to win their second start than their first so he’s got to go out and perform at his best but I believe he’s going very well.”
He is also upbeat about the chances of rejuvenated Chris Waller-trained gelding Abdon in the Listed W J McKell Cup (2400m).
Berry has built a strong rapport with Abdon this campaign having won the Wagga Cup on him two starts ago and partnered him to a last-start fifth behind Grey Lion in the Lord Mayor’s Cup.
He will be on trial at 2400 metres on Saturday but Berry doesn’t expect the distance to pose a problem.
“He feels like he’ll stay all day and he’s got that short, sharp burst and over 2400 metres, there’s not too many horses that have a turn of foot,” Berry said.
“He’s a horse who, in the past, I questioned whether he was very genuine but he’s definitely turned it around a bit this preparation.
“He’s on the way up and he’s in a purple patch of form at the moment so hopefully he can continue that on the weekend.”
Berry’s full book of nine Rosehill rides includes four early favourites – Exceedance, stablemate Kapajack in the Hi Quality Turf Handicap, Our Echo for Matt Dunn in the Highway Handicap and honest mare Reelem In Ruby for Peter and Paul Snowden in the Dad & Dave’s Turf Handicap.