McCreery has been knocking on the door in Group One mile races and Tommy Berry believes he can finally land a major in Saturday’s Epsom Handicap at Randwick.
The Australian jockey, who joined the Hong Kong ranks full-time at the start of the season, is returning to Sydney to partner the Chris Waller-trained six-year-old in the A$1 million contest, one that has been reduced to a field of 10 with four early scratchings.
McCreery has shown he belongs in this grade with an unlucky second in the Group One Cantala Stakes at Flemington last year, while finishing sixth in both last year’s Epsom Handicap and the Doncaster Mile in April.
Berry has had one ride on McCreery for one win and is hopeful of keeping that unbeaten record intact.
“I think he’s a great chance, he’s got a really great record in Group One mile races,” Berry said.
“It was a good run last start behind Winx [in the George Main Stakes] when hitting the line strong for fourth. I think he’s ready to go on Saturday.
“It always is good form and obviously third-up will be spot on as well – he’s a horse that I’ve always had a lot of time for.
“Chris always knows how to have his horses ready when it comes to this time of the year.”
McCreery drew barrier seven initially but now comes into gate four with the withdrawals and Berry thinks that puts him in good stead.
“He’s been getting a little bit far back in his last couple of runs, but hopefully drawing a nice barrier we can settle about midfield and have a nice run from there,” he said.
“There looks to be genuine speed in the race, as there usually is in the Epsom, so if we get the right run I believe we’ll be right in the finish.”
Berry isn’t the only Hong Kong-based jockey riding in the Epsom with Joao Moreira jumping aboard stablemate Comin’ Through.
The four-year-old is undefeated this preparation, while the Magic Man rode him earlier this year when third in the Group One Randwick Guineas.
The one they have to beat is Patrick Webster’s Happy Clapper, who carries the top weight but is racing in terrific form after winning the Group Two Tramway Stakes first-up and then finishing second to Winx last start.
Happy Clapper was rated a $2.65 chance in Australian markets with Tom Melbourne ($6) the second elect. Comin’ Through was a $6.50 hope, while McCreery was marked at $14.
The Jockey Club will simulcast six races from Randwick, including the other two Group Ones on the card in the Flight Stakes and The Metropolitan.