After a smart trial win in the opening heat at Royal Randwick on Thursday morning, top Sydney jockey Tommy Berry believes the Gai Waterhouse-trained Woodbine can perform at the next level in this autumn.
A four-year-old son of Hussonet, the stallion was one of six Waterhouse-trained stable mates trialling over 1200m in the first hit-out this morning.
Berry rode the four-time winner and was full of praise after the jump-out where Woodbine came from the rear of the field to defeat Waterhouse’s Grafton Cup winning mare Queenstown.
A winner on debut at Hawkesbury back in August of 2013, Woodbine’s best result in Group company was a luckless fourth to Dissident when under two lengths off the winner in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) after making up good late ground in March last year.
He has twice been tested in Group 1 level in Sydney when a struggling seventh to Japanese mare Hana’s Gola in the All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick and eighth when three and a half off Hooked in the Epsom Handicap (1600m) at the same track in October.
Berry was back in the saddle after Christian Reith rode the horse in the Epsom, won by Chris Waller’s French import He’s Your Man, for Woodbine’s latest start on Victoria Derby Day.
That was the galloper’s maiden run in Melbourne and after being near the back of the field early he ran home well to cross one and three-quarter lengths off Hucklebuck in the Group 3 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
He had a nice trial with Berry aboard on December 30 when a nose away second at Randwick and returned for his second official trial of the summer on Thursday.
The blue-bred entire, a $750,000 yearling purchase, could now finally live up to his breeding according to Berry who said today’s trial was like being aboard an entirely different and improved racehorse.
Berry said the trip south of the border at the end of the spring helped bring Woodbine on maturity-wise and that everything so far indicated he could win a nice race this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“He is so much more switched on now, I think the trip to Melbourne could be the making of this horse,” Berry told TVN.
“On the track at home he has always worked very strongly but he probably hasn’t lived up to the expectation on race day.
“I was very impressed with the way he trilled today and I’d say he could go to the next level.”
Follow the autumn plans of Woodbine right here at Races.com.au.
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