Racing: Fat Al has Berry keen on Emirates chances

By Matthew Toogood

Tommy Berry. Photo / Getty Images
Tommy Berry. Photo / Getty Images

Sydney jockey Tommy Berry doubts anything will top riding in his first Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, other than winning the famous race in future years.

But a victory in his second group one ride at Flemington aboard Fat Al in Saturday's Emirates Stakes (1600m) would certainly cap a week the young jockey will never forget.

Berry rode in his first Melbourne Cup aboard Glencadam Gold, who led the field for much of the 3200m until being overhauled in the final 300m to finish sixth.

"Unless I win the Melbourne Cup, I don't think anything will top that," Berry said.

"But it would still be a massive thrill if I could win a group one at Flemington during cup week.

"I'm really looking forward to the race and it's great to get the opportunity to ride Fat Al again after winning the Epsom on him last start.

"I worked him this morning and his work was outstanding.

"He would have to be pretty hard to beat off his last win, even though he's going up a lot in weight."

Fat Al formed part of a group one double for Berry when he won the Epsom Handicap at Randwick last month.

Berry also claimed the Metropolitan Handicap aboard Glencadam Gold on the same afternoon.

Fat Al will jump from barrier five in the Emirates Stakes, the final feature of the Melbourne spring carnival.

A full field of 16 plus four emergencies was declared for the race with Fat Al one of five equal topweights on 58kg along with Happy Trails (barrier 10), Playing God (one), Solzhenitsyn (two) and the 2010 winner Wall Street (13).

Top Sydney mares Streama and Secret Admirer fared poorly at the barrier draw with gates 16 and 20 respectively, while last weekend's winner Fawkner has gate three.

It will be five weeks between runs for Fat Al but the gelding was kept up to the mark with a Cranbourne barrier trial over 1550m on October 23 which he won by 4 lengths.

"Vlad Duric rode him in that trial and was full of praise for him," Berry said. Fat Al defeated Ambidexter by a head in the Epsom and the Peter Snowden-trained runner will again be among his rivals on Saturday.

Fawkner has been installed favourite ahead of Toorak winner Solzhenitsyn and Fat Al.


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