Confirmed to line up the world’s leading sprinter this afternoon, jockey Tommy Berry is confident of a successful tilt at the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley with Orujo, despite having never partnered the talented three-year-old competitively.
Contesting a commendable total of two wins and two minor places from just six competitive starts so far, Orujo returned to racing in great form this season in beating a talented field to the line in the Lister BM70 (1000m), but finished a disappointing sixth in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) most recently on August 23rd.
Required to get down to 52kgs to take the ride on the Exceed And Excel colt in the McEwen Stakes, Berry told AAP he is thrilled to have picked up the ride, and is confident of maintaining the partnership with the Godolphin stables through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
“It’s an opportunity I didn’t want to let go,” Berry said.
“Obviously riding for Godolphin is great. They’ve got a few jockeys there at the moment so I’ve just got to keep sticking my head in there and doing little things like getting down to 52 (kilos). I’m sure they appreciate that.
“It just creates more options later on in the spring if they have got a few runners in the one race.”
Debuting with a credible fifth amongst classy competition in the Flemington Equine Clinic Plate (1000m) on November 30th, Orujo returned to the track in autumn in excellent form; finishing second to Marcado in the Listed Talindert Stakes (1100m) on February 15th, breaking through for a maiden race win in a minor over 1100m on February 27th before again running a close second to London Lolly in the Listed St Albans Stakes (1200m) on March 14th.
Leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best early odds on this afternoon’s McEwen Stakes, for which Orujo is available at a particularly generous quote of $19 for success or $2.85 to run a place.
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