Ace Sydney hoop Tommy Berry will let the Hawkes Racing stable choose which of their two top Golden Rose Stakes 2016 hopefuls he will partner in Saturday week’s Rosehill Gardens classic.
Berry is facing a dilemma some jockeys only dream about with the choice of two very exciting three-year-olds prepared by Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) on September 10 – Divine Prophet or Star Turn.
Co-trainer and Hall of Famer John Hawkes chases his second Golden Rose win having prepared Paratroopers for his win back in 2005, while Berry is also no stranger to the winner’s stall in the race.
Berry partnered the Peter Snowden-trained Epaulette for the then Darley stable to victory in 2012 and hopes he gets the chance to win a second this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
Team Hawkes will make the final call on Golden Rose jockeys for their runners and Berry said he would be more than happy to ride either Divine Prophet or Star Turn who are both Group 3 winners.
“They are both very different horses,” Berry told Racenet.
“I wouldn’t have a clue which one I’m on if they’re both going there but John is a great judge and I’d rather leave it up to him instead of me making the choice and possibly choosing the wrong one.”
Of the two Divine Prophet is the best fancied in all-in Golden Rose Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $6.50 for the win in markets led by the John O’Shea-trained Run To The Rose winner Astern ($4.40), while Star Turn is at $8.50.
Choisir colt Divine Prophet has won two of his four starts to date and Berry has been aboard for both wins including his first-up Randwick triumph in the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m).
As a two-year-old the youngster also ran an eye-catching third to Prized Icon in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) with Dwayne Dunn in the saddle.
Berry has him rated as a genuine miler and believes Divine Prophet could also extend his form over more distance making him a hope for the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in October.
“I think Divine Prophet will get out to a mile and maybe even 2000 [metres] in a Cox Plate,” Berry said of the youngster who sits as a $31 chance in futures Cox Plate betting.
“You never know but he feels like he’ll get over ground.
“Star Turn on the other hand has that electrifying turn of foot.
“He was beaten by a nice horse in Astern the other day but I think it would be better if we could ride him just a touch quieter.
“He sort of gets to the front and switches off a bit and that’s probably why a few people were critical I may have sat for too long on him the other day but I believe if I got him off the bit any earlier he gets beaten further.”
A son of Star Witness, Star Turn won the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) first-up on August 13 at Rosehill before his second when a neck off the winner in the Group 2 The Run To The Rose (1200m) last Saturday at the same track.
As a juvenile the colt was also twice tested in elite level company finishing fifth to Extreme Choice in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) and sixth to Capitalist in the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m).
Both of those Group 1 winners meanwhile are set for a clash at Moonee Valley on September 30 in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m).
“I think it does take a horse with a good turn of foot to win this race and horses like Zoustar and Exosphere had that,” Berry added.
“And Epaulette could really let down on his day too.
“It’s lucky Divine Prophet is still early enough in his preparation to have that zip in his legs because I think as the preparation goes on he will lose that a little bit.
“One’s going to be a lot closer in the run than the other but apart from that they can both sprint and run time so really there’s not much difference between them going into the Golden Rose but going forward after that there’s a big difference.”
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