Jockey Nathan Berry is looking forward to his ride on the Bjorn Baker-trained Windjammer in Saturday’s 2013 San Domenico Stakes, the top Sydney hoop describing the youngster as a ‘happy horse’ ahead of the Rosehill clash.
Bernardini colt Windjammer is one of nine three-year-olds in the mix for this year’s $125,000 Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) which serves as a spring campaign kick-off for a number of promising Golden Rose types.
Windjammer is one of those early hopes for the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) rated a $21 chance in the futures markets for the September 14 classic.
They are also one of the top fancies for the San Domenico on Saturday occupying the second line of betting at a quote of $4.40.
Markets are led by Peter Snowden’s resuming Golden Slipper runner-up Sidestep ($3.20) who is already a Group 2 winner thanks to their Pago Pago Stakes effort last prep.
As for Windjammer they are also no stranger to the bigger races for their age with three of their six starts to date being at either Group 1 or 2 level.
Their two Group 1 runs left a little to be desired during the autumn however.
Third-up they ran ninth in the Golden Slipper and then next start just seven days later they were beaten over 20 lengths when 12th (of 13) behind Guelph in the Group 1 ATC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m).
While Sidestep is resuming in the San Domenico, Windjammer has already had one run as a three-year-old debuting for the season in the $85,000 National Jockeys Trust Handicap (1000m) at Rosehill on August 3.
The class of rivals they faced there may have been slightly less than Saturday’s line-up they still did a great job to put one and a quarter lengths on Mr Entertainer, especially as they met them five kilos worse in the weights with 59kg.
For the San Domenico they drop back to 56kg and also get a jockey change with Berry to replace Hugh Bowman.
Berry has been doing all the riding groundwork with Windjammer but missed their first-up run due to suspension.
He’s keen to make amends for that on Saturday however and get them over the line first again.
“I have been doing a fair bit of work on him so it is good to get the ride,” Berry told The Daily Telegraph.
“I rode him in his trial prior to his last start win and it wasn’t surprising to me that the horse won, his work had been exceptional.
“On the Tuesday morning before that race, I rode him in work and the times he ran was unbelievable.
“I told Bjorn if he runs up to that in the race, even with 59kg, they won’t get near him.
“Bjorn has kept him chilled and a happy horse since.”
Bowman meanwhile is engaged to ride another hopeful in the race partnering with the Anthony Cummings-trained Cluster ($15) who runs for just the second time having finished sixth on debut at Canterbury back in April.
Berry is hoping he can follow in the footsteps of his now six-time Group 1 winning identical twin brother Tommy Berry.
He broke his elite level maiden in last year’s Golden Rose with Epaulette and if all goes to plan Nathan will be able to go all the way and do the same in this year’s race with Windjammer.
“Tommy’s first Group 1 was in the Golden Rose and he went onto win many,” Nathan said.
“If I can follow in his footsteps and even have half the success he had last season, I will be happy.”
Whether you’re sticking with the favourite Sidestep or rate Windjammer a chance on the weekend, the best San Domenico Stakes odds can be found online at bookmaker.com.au.
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