Tommy Berry will team with Japanese raiders Danburite and Fine Needle in upcoming spring features as the Australian looks to click as a club rider ahead of next month’s licensing decisions for 2018-19.
Berry started the season as John Moore’s stable rider but the partnership ended late last month after the pair had just seven wins together.
Since then it has been a new start in many ways, with Berry and wife Sharnee welcoming a third child, son Levi into their family, and the 27-year-old jockey looking for fresh support from trainers away from Moore’s yard.
The April 29 bookings on Danburite in the Group One Audemars Piguet QEII Cup and Fine Needle for the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize give Berry another reason to feel optimistic ahead of the late-season stretch.
“It’s always great to get an opportunity to ride Japanese horses when they travel. These two horses have the right sort of credentials for their races and the timing is good,” Berry said.
“I’ve been surprised and overwhelmed by the support I have got from trainers here already since I moved into the club jockey role and getting the rides on these Japanese horses is more good news.
“I would be really disappointed to leave Hong Kong on a low. I have 13 wins to my name and that isn’t up to the standards I set for myself.
“Hopefully, I can make the most of the opportunities I am getting and staying here for next season is what we want to do at this stage.”
Berry believes Danburite’s tough on-pace style “will add an interesting dynamic” to the QEII and the jockey was already talking tactics just over two weeks out from the HK$24 million feature.
“When he won at Group Two level at 2,200m two starts back he showed how he loves to roll up on the speed,” Berry said.
“He will settle in the first two without a problem, whether that is beside or even in front of a horse like Time Warp.
“He likes to get along at quite a decent tempo, so if the leaders want to go too slow he is the type of horse that can get moving from the half mile or 1,000m mark at a high cruising speed.”
Godolphin Japan’s Fine Needle stormed to victory in last month’s Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chukyo to book a trip to Sha Tin, a track with a surface Berry said may suit the five-year-old more.
“That was a softer track in Japan and he will definitely be better on firmer ground, which he should get at Sha Tin,” he said.
“I'm under no illusions as to how good our sprinters are in Hong Kong though, with Mr Stunning, Beat The Clock and a few others, it’s a very good crop. He has to step up again, but he comes here in good form.”