Tommy Berry’s decision to ride Beyond Thankful in the Lord Mayor’s Cup has the Chris Waller stable optimistic the veteran will perform at Rosehill.
Waller’s racing manager Charlie Duckworth said engaging Berry was encouraging as the seven-year-old continued his preparation to the Listed McKell Cup at Rosehill on May 27.
While the bulk of his rivals are riding on the Gold Coast on Saturday, Berry will be in Sydney and ride Beyond Thankful for the first time.
“Tommy is one of the few top-pick riders who’s staying in Sydney. He should have the pick of the rides so for him to accept means he deems Beyond Thankful to be a chance,” Duckworth said.
Beyond Thankful, who is seeking his first win since the Group Three Newcastle Cup in September 2015, is rated a $26 chance with the TAB.
“The ultimate goal is 2400 (McKell Cup) in three weeks so he might race a touch flat second-up over the 2000,” Duckworth said.
Beyond Thankful is backing up from an unplaced run in the Group Three Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) last weekend.
Duckworth, who oversees Waller’s team this week as Sydney’s champion trainer takes in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, was also restrained about Soviet Courage’s chances.
“He’s pretty much at his mark. He’s just looking to pick up some good prize money and pick up some form in the weaker winter months,” he said.
Godolphin’s Allergic leads the TAB’s Cup market with the Joe Pride-trained New Tipperary at $5.
Among the stable’s other runners is three-year-old Black On Gold ($4.20) who had no luck at Randwick last Saturday week and runs over 1800 metres on Saturday.
“He got hemmed in on the fence and never really got his fair whack at them,” Duckworth said.
“The distance will suit. He’s got a soft barrier (2), Brenton (Avdulla) knows the horse well and hopefully he won’t get him into the same amount of trouble.”
Black On Gold’s biggest hurdle could be stablemate Oklahoma Girl, the $3.60 favourite.
Waller opted not to send her north for the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) in which he will be represented by pre-race favourite Dawn Wall ($3.60) and Invincibella ($5.50).
“You don’t need three potentially Group One-winning fillies racing against each other,” Duckworth said.