Tommy Berry will ride Chris Waller’s leading Doncaster Mile contender after Craig Newitt agreed to step down from Weary who earned his spot with victory in the Prelude.
Waller said Weary’s owners, Geoff and Mary Grimish, had been long-time supporters of Berry’s brother Nathan who died last week from a rare illness related to severe epilepsy.
“Tommy won the race for us last year aboard Sacred Falls but was unable to make an early commitment for that horse this year hence why Zac Purton is riding,” Waller said.
“Craig Newitt was originally booked for Weary but being the true gentleman he is stood aside upon realising the circumstances and has allowed Tommy to take the ride.”
Newitt’s wife Karli, who is also his manager, said on twitter it was a way for Craig to support his riding colleague.
“We were stuck last week when trying to find a way to show our support for @TommyBerry21 #perfectopportunity #weary4nathan,” she said.
Hugh Bowman rode Weary to his qualifying win on Saturday but will be reunited with the Guy Walter-trained Streama this week while Newitt will ride Weary’s stablemate My Kingdom Of Fife.
A French import, Weary is on the second line of betting at $8 alongside El Roca with Messene the $3.20 favourite for the Hawkes family training partnership.
Weary, who will carry 51.5kg, will be one of six runners for Waller led by triple Group One winner Boban who carries top weight of 58kg.
“Despite the big weight he will carry we are confident,” Waller said.
“If we wait until the Queen Elizabeth the following week then we might be running on a heavy nine or ten.
“Everything suggests he should be there.”
Waller said he did not think the seven-day back-up to the Queen Elizabeth Stakes after Saturday would be a problem.
“If anything it will help him to settle better over the 2000 metres,” he said.
Boban is at $11 alongside three of his stablemates, Hawkspur, Sacred Falls and Royal Descent while My Kingdom Of Fife is at $51.
The trainer said the intention was to also send Hawkspur, Sacred Falls and Royal Descent to the Queen Elizabeth, a race My Kingdom Of Fife won three years ago before suffering injury problems.
“My Kingdom of Fife comes into the race out of form,” Waller said.
“Saturday will give us a good line as to whether he backs up in the Queen Elizabeth or heads to the Hollindale Stakes and Doomben Cup in Brisbane.