It might only be May and the spring horses have barely started work, but star jockey Tommy Berry has been locked in to ride Japanese stayer Curren Mirotic in the 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Berry is currently based in Japan – where he rode four winners last week – and says the Cup booking is just another highlight of this stint. Next week he rides one of the world’s best horses, Maurice, in the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen (1600m) before returning home to Sydney.
“This is the reason I came here,” Berry told G1X.com.au. “I wanted to build up connections and I’ve been able to do that, but to get the booking for Curren Mirotic in the Cup is quite special.”
The Yoshida family’s Northern Farm bred Curren Mirotic and they retain ownership in the horse with Mr Suzuki.
Curren Mirotic ran second in Japan’s equivalent of the Melbourne Cup, the US$2.9 million Tenno Sho (3200m) on May 1, a race he’d run third in the previous season.
Even though Berry is keen to get back into riding in Australia, the booking means he will be required in Japan on the weekends of June 18-19 and 25-26. Curren Mirotic will have his final Melbourne Cup lead-up run in the Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen over 2200m on June 26.
“He’s not a young horse. He’s experienced and he is coming into the best form,” Berry said.
“He’s a high class on-speed stayer with a turn of foot and that is the sort of the horse connections targeted for the Melbourne Cup.
“And coming through the Tenno Sho is the right race; Admire Rakti and Fame Game came through that.”