Berry Prepared For Quite A Carrousel Ride In Queen Elizabeth

There are two issues Tommy Berry faces as he tries to cause an upset on Place Du Carrousel in Saturday’s Group 1 $5m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick.

Tommy Berry (Pic: Steve Hart)

The first is whether the mare can turn the tables on fellow Yulong owned import Via Sistina from their Ranvet clash three weeks ago, where the margin was 1-1/4 lengths, and the second is how to handle the likelihood of Pride Of Jenni opening up a mid-race margin.

Berry said tactics such as those employed on the Ciaron Maher-trained front-runner are rare at the highest level and it adds another layer to the intrigue around the flagship race of The Star Championships.

“It’s been a while since I’ve ridden in a race with a horse like Pride Of Jenni,’’ Berry said.

“There were a couple of Winx races where they were trying to undo Winx, but since then we haven’t had to worry about that.”

The races Berry refers to include the famous 2017 Chelmsford Stakes where Red Excitement opened up a huge lead, and when Happy Clapper went for home early in the Chipping Norton Stakes of 2019.

He’s wary that Pride Of Jenni has been effective when trying to break their hearts from the front.

“It’s very hard for horses to do it time and time again and you think is Pride Of Jenni going to be able to do it again but she does,’’ he said.

“It’s going to be interesting who makes the move to chase her and how long they’re going to wait to do that.”

Place Du Carrousel was no match for Via Sistina in the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) but that was a slowly run race and a sprint home – vastly different conditions, including a soft track, to what’s likely to unfold in the Queen Elizabeth.

The Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained mare worked with Berry on Tuesday morning and he reported she felt a lot sharper, which bodes well for Saturday.

“Obviously the team had to put a lot of work into her to run her at that distance first-up,’’ he said.

“They’ve been able to shoot the breeze with her since then and you can feel she’s really bubbly and above herself and in a great frame of mind.

“She really enjoyed getting her toe into the ground and with a horse like Ciaron Maher’s in it on Saturday it’s going to make it a true staying test and it’s going to suit a mare like her.”

Berry is a little bullish that Place Du Carrousel, $13 with TAB on Wednesday, has made the necessary improvement to give Via Sistina a run for her money but there’s one factor he can’t account for.

“I just hope James (McDonald and Via Sistina) doesn’t have any improvement because if it does it’s scary,’’ he said.

“But she couldn’t have run any quicker time that she did and she is a 2400m horse.

“She’s a lot sharper this time around. I don’t think it will be easy for James to get past me, if he does, but there won’t be as big a margin at the finish.”

If Olentia can stretch her brilliance to a mile, Berry is confident she can be a player in the Group 1 $1m Grainshaker Vodka Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m).

The mare recovered from a setback after her luckless first-up second behind Semana to take out the Emancipation Stakes two weeks ago at her first try beyond 1400m.

“She appreciated the 1500m which was great to see, she doesn’t mind give in the ground and she had that little bit of a break between runs so she’s getting there on fresh legs,’’ Berry said.

“So a few horses with a bit more boom on them have had a little more racing than her so she’s getting there in good order.

“She was strong at the end of her race the other day.

“I know it was a bit more of a sit and sprint but for her to do what she did, coming off them and being able to beat them convincingly in a slowly run race, holds her in pretty good stead.”

Berry has won the Queen Of The Turf twice, on Nettoyer in 2021 and Diamond Drille in 2014.

– Racing NSW

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