Racing: Gai reaches for her fifth Slipper

By Caryl Williamson

Overreach made the most of her one barrier and a perfect ride.

Tommy Berry salutes as Overreach wins the Golden Slipper. Photo / Getty Images
Tommy Berry salutes as Overreach wins the Golden Slipper. Photo / Getty Images

Overreach showed just why she has dominated Golden Slipper markets for weeks with a comprehensive display at Rosehill on Saturday to give Gai Waterhouse her fifth win in the world's richest race for 2-year-olds.

While Waterhouse took it all in her stride, jockey Tommy Berry was overcome by emotion as he soaked up his first Slipper win.

The filly's owner, George Altomonte, was more reserved, but justifiably proud as he became the first person since TJ Smith to individually breed and race the Slipper winner, which the great trainer achieved in 1986 with Bounding Away.

After giving the filly the perfect run on the rails just behind the leaders from barrier one, Berry brought Overreach off the fence to the middle of the track in the straight.

She stretched out in the slow ground to hold Sidestep ($11) at bay by 1 lengths, with a length to Sweet Idea ($10).

Doubts about her ability in wet ground made punters a little nervous about Overreach with as much as $3.10 bet before she was wound in to $2.80 after being $2.30 early in the week.

She covered the 1200m in 1:11.

"She showed her superiority," Waterhouse said. "I'm so admiring of Tommy Berry. Not only is he a capable jockey, he has the ability to be able to flow with things."

Berry told Waterhouse he wanted to stick to the fence and she gave him carte blanche to do what he thought best with one proviso.

"You do what you like as long as you win," she told him.

Craig Williams, rider of Cambridge filly Ruud Awakening who beat one home, said: "We ended up not flying the start so we used plan B and went back. We followed Villa Verde into the run but just never travelled like I thought she was going to."


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