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Ace Sydney hoop Tommy Berry will return from Hong Kong this spring looking to secure his maiden Group 1 trophy in Melbourne and secure the Sydney – Melbourne Cup 2014 double with The Offer.
Gai Waterhouse’s autumn revelation The Offer is just one in a star studded line up of Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival rides waiting for Berry in the new season.
He’s secured four Group 1 trophies this season at home and a further four in Hong Kong plus a Singapore elite level too but an elite level in Melbourne has to date eluded Berry.
Included in that top tally was Montjeu gelding The Offer in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick in April.
The Sydney Cup victory was a particularly emotional one for the young hoop who earlier in the month lost his twin brother and fellow jockey Nathan Berry to Norse Syndrome.
Now a Cups’ double is on his radar, The Offer leading futures Melbourne Cup betting markets at $13 through Ladbrokes.com.au for the $6.2 million two mile classic at Flemington on Tuesday November 4.
Berry watched The Offer work on Friday morning in Sydney and was taken with the rising six-year-old who won three on the trot, including the Sydney Cup, but a combined 10 lengths last prep.
“The Offer, he’s coming back and I saw him at trackwork on Friday morning when I went to Randwick and he looked super,” Berry told RSN’s Correct Weight.
But The Offer isn’t the only plum ride Berry has secured for the spring.
He’s got a juicy book of mounts including international radar Dan Excel for the Cox Plate, Golden Slipper winner Overreach for her return, Caulfield Guineas favourite Almalad and last Saturday’s Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara winning filly Cosmic Endeavour.
John Moore’s Hong Kong galloper, Shamardal gelding Dan Excel has been confirmed for a trip down under after being one of the 10 international invitees for this October’s $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
They are at $17 in the pre-nomination Cox Plate odds to win the Moonee Valley, weight-for-age feature too having last been seen winning the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m) at Kranji in May.
Berry was aboard Dan Excel for that victory as well as their third to Variety Club in the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin in May and is set to continue that association when the horse comes to Australia.
“I’ve got a nice team (of spring rides) and Dan Excel’s another one, he’s heading towards the Cox Plate,” Berry said.
Berry is also the regular rider of Waterhouse’s Exceed And Excel filly Overreach who was last seen running third to Guelph in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in mid-April.
Before that the rising four-year-old won three on the trot by big margins including the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m), and she will return to work next week.
“Overreach is coming back into work in the next week and we all know how good she is if we can get her back in tip-top order,” Berry confirmed on Sunday.
Along with 2014 Melbourne Cup-bound The Offer, the other early Group 1 spring favourite Berry has dibs on is Al Maher gelding Almalad.
Undefeated in their three runs to date, the current two-year-old was last seen beating home race favourite Brazen Beau in the Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 7 with Berry aboard.
They now lead futures markets for the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11 at a quote of $8.50.
“Almalad’s heading towards the Guineas and he’s very exciting,” Berry said.
“He did a lot wrong when he won his Group 1 a few weeks ago and still proved too good.”
Spring plans then for Berry’s most recent Group 1 winner, Northern Meteor filly Cosmic Endeavour, then includes the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day along with his Queen Of The Turf Stakes winning mare Diamond Drille.
“Obviously Diamond Drille and Cosmic Endeavour are probably both heading towards the Myer,” he said.
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