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He faces an unknown field of unraced rivals in the 2015 Canonbury Stakes on Saturday but Vancouver is still the one to beat with the blinkers on according to jockey Tommy Berry.
Berry jumps aboard the Gai Waterhouse-trained Medaglia D’Oro colt for the first time under race conditions this weekend in the Expressway Stakes Day opener at Rosehill Gardens.
Young Vancouver is the only non-maiden in a small field of just six two-year-old colts and geldings engaged to face off in the $150,000 Group 3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m).
The set weights plus penalites race is an early lead-up to the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) back at the track during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
The world’s richest race for two-year-olds, the 2015 Golden Slipper is scheduled for Saturday March 21 and is definitely on the autumn radar of Vancouver.
He carries the 57.5kg top weight for his second career start on Saturday giving three kilos away to the rest of the field.
Drawn in barrier four he pays $3.70 in the latest Canonbury Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The markets are led by the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Outreach paying $2.90, in from $3.70, to win his debut.
A promising and nicely-bred Exceed And Excel colt, Outreach has had two January trials leading up to this.
The first was a second behind Gary Portelli’s Sebring Sun, who ran third to Haptic over 1000m at Randwick last weekend, before a win over 900m at Rosehill on January 20.
Vancouver meanwhile trialled at Randwick on January 15 for a fourth over 1050m with Berry aboard.
That was his first appearance since winning the $100,000 Listed NSW Thoroughbred Breeders’ Plate (1000m) on debut back on October 4 last year with Tye Angland in the saddle.
Berry was pleased with what Vancouver showed him in the trial earlier this month but admits the horse needs the blinkers on to perform at his best in the Canonbury after he didn’t have them on in his lead-up trial.
“Vancouver is a very laid-back type and needs them to help him switch on,” Berry told The Daily Telegraph on Friday.
“He is a quality colt. He has been very impressive in his track gallops, and I know Gai has a big rap on him — everyone at the stable does.
“He’s a bit like Pierro and all the other good two-year-olds Gai has had because he is a pleasure to ride. Everyone wants to be on his back and take him for a spell.
“But he has still won just the one race so has to go out there and prove himself (tomorrow).”
Looking further ahead Vancouver is one of the first six in futures Golden Slipper betting, markets led by Godolphin’s number one juvenile Ottoman ($8), paying $13 to take out the classic.
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