Newcastle preview: Fab five to help Tommy Berry push his claims for State Jockeys Premiership

It’s not quite as momentous a milestone as last Saturday’s third Golden Slipper win but Tommy Berry should have no trouble raising the bat on a half century of winners at the Newcastle track on Tuesday.

Currently on 49 wins at the old Broadmeadow track, Berry is destined to start Winx-like odds in the TAB Jockeys Challenge thanks to Chris Waller’s Newcastle bound pair Ossabuco and Solar Apex as well as the Snowden trio of Salateen, Armatree and So Far Away.

Berry’s fabulous five rides at Newcastle could see him narrow the gap between himself and current Provincial Jockeys frontrunner Keagan Latham from seven to two.

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Solar Apex (Red and Yellow silks) will appreciate the step up in distance at Newcastle on Tuesday. Photo: Vince Caligiuri/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Berry is closer still to Blaike McDougall on the State-wide ladder, just 3.5 behind, and trails defending champion James McDonald by eight in the coveted Sydney Jockeys Premiership.

Plenty of punters will be standing out Tommy Berry in one, two, three and possibly four stages of the Quaddie where the first leg sees him reunited with Waller’s Deep Impact colt Solar Apex 13-days after their closing third on the Kensington track over 1550m.

“He was very strong to the line late and Kensington is a bit of a tricky track sometimes especially when you have got to get to the outside, so with an even playing surface at Newcastle, he will be right in the mix,” Berry said.

“He is bred to stay, and his best form is when he gets close to the 2000 metres so he will appreciate the step up in trip.

“He is probably just a little bit below the better horses here, but Brisbane (at carnival time) looks an ideal place for him.”

Emirates Park filly Salateen was beaten at odds-on at Gosford last start but returned home to her High Street base with numerous excuses.

“Looking back at the rest of the day there, it was very hard to make up ground from back and down the centre part of the track,” Berry explained.

Tommy Berry has three rides for Peter and Paul Snowden at Newcastle on Tuesday including Salateen. Photo: Simon Bullard/AAP ImageSource:AAP

“I think every winner on the day came either up the fence or pretty close to it.

“I was a bit disappointed at first, because it was early in the day and without knowing the bias to the track, but looking back on it, it was a good run.

“It is hard to get Salateen’s win from the start before out of your mind – it was pretty impressive.”

Berry will have his first ride this afternoon on the now gelded Armatree who bears a striking resemblance to Berry’s second Golden Slipper winner, Vancouver.

“He has good form around him for a race at the provincials,” Berry said.

“He won a trial earlier in the month, so he seems to have come back well.”

Berry’s last ride is also for the Snowden’s in So Far Away who is back at Newcastle for a third consecutive time in 2021.

“She was very hard done-by last start. She got put in a pocket at the top of the straight and by the time she got out the race was pretty much over.”

“She is well suited stepping up from 1200 metres to 1400 metres,” Berry said.

SNOWDROP TO CONTINUE LANE’S WINNING RUN

Days after his win in the $200,000 Wellington Boot, trainer Damien Lane will produce another of his crack two-year-olds for the first time in 2021 on Tuesday when Snowdrop resumes at Newcastle.

Lane was given a red-hot chance of training the quinella in Sunday’s Wellington Boot but was rocked by the late scratching of his 10-length Coonamble winner, Tidal Impact, moments before the jump.

Thankfully, Lane’s other runner, Sonnet Star, took full advantage of a favourable run, streaking away for an emphatic win.

Snowdrop, meanwhile, is way down in class on her only two starts in the summer of 2020.

She kicked off with a brave third to Sliders and Pippa Charlotte in the annual Max Lees Classic over the same course and distance as Tuesday’s Reward Hospitality Maiden Handicap (900m).

A month late, the daughter of Capitalist showed her now customary pace to led them up in the Wyong Magic Millions only to fold late and finish well down the order behind She’s All Class and company.

The speedy Snowdrop (centre) can kick off her campaign with at win. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“She was quite impressive in her first trial and at her first start,” Lane said.

“Obviously she found the 1100m (in the Magic Millions) a bit far at that stage. She was only a very immature filly back then but she has definitely strengthened up a bit now.

“I decided not to trial here. She is very sharp and I have got her forward enough in condition. So from a good draw and with three kilos off, I am sure she will be in the first couple and will give a good sight that’s for sure.”

Snowdrop is a lightning fast but perhaps no quicker than her three-year-old stablemate Zorocat who resumes in the Minder Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m).

Zorocat broke her maiden at Newcastle over 900m in the spring but is best remembered for her second to The Bopper in the Romantic Dream where Kris Lees’ chestnut smashed the 1000m course record.

“We are just doing something a little bit different this prep giving her the two trials and going 1200m first-up.

“I don’t want to keep teaching her that she has to go a hundred mile and hour.

“From the soft draw (4), I am happy for her to go to the 1200m,” Lane said.

Originally published asNewcastle preview: Apex to help Berry rise to the top

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