Sydney-based jockey Tommy Berry will chase the dream of a win in one of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival majors this season and highly rates the 2016 Melbourne Cup chances of his Japanese-trained mount Curren Mirotic.
Japan ran the Melbourne Cup quinella a decade ago with stablemates Delta Blues and Pop Rock running one-two in the 2006 edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’, and Berry believes Curren Mirotic can be the next for the nation.
The Osamu Hirata-trained son of Heart’s Cry is tracking towards a trip to Victoria this season where the $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on November 1 is on the cards.
Pre-nomination Melbourne Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by the Lloyd Williams-owned European Order Of St George ($11), while Curren Mirotic is listed as a $21 shot to win the world’s richest handicap.
Curren Mirotic was runner-up to Kitasan Black in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (Spring) over the two miles at home in May before a disappointing 11th in another Japanese elite level over less distance last month with Berry aboard.
With the Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) contested on a rain-affected track, Berry is confident the dour stayer can improve on the run and be a competitive Melbourne Cup horse back over 3200m on a firmer course.
“He’s had two runs on Soft tracks before, and was disappointing both times,” Berry explained to Racing Victoria this week.
“You can’t take away what he did the start before over 3200m at Group 1 level.
“He was beaten a nose, and he’s got good form behind Fame Game from the previous year over the same trip.”
Fame Game was runner-up in last year’s Tenno Sho behind Gold Ship before travelling to Australia for a Caulfield Cup sixth and 13th to Prince Of Penzance in the Melbourne Cup.
“He’s an exciting stayer; he’s obviously getting on in age a bit now,” Berry added of rising nine-year-old Curren Mirotic.
“They [Japanese stables] have been bringing stayers over who have been getting back in the Cups.
“It’s been a bit disappointing with how the track’s played or the speed in the race, so they’ve targeted a horse who can race on the pace and Curren Mirotic looks to be a leading contender.”
The hoop has just the one Group 1 win in Melbourne on his record to date when guiding star galloper Chautauqua to victory in last year’s Manikato Stakes.
He is keen to add to that with success in either the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate or Melbourne Cup this season; a goal for all Australian jockeys.
“I won the Manikato on Chautauqua and that was good,” he said.
“But the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate – they’re the three that every jockey wants to win.
“I’ve been lucky enough to win some good races here in Australia and overseas, but they’re the three majors that Australian jockeys all thrive to win.”
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