Magic Millions Draw Blow

Jockey Tommy Berry's hopes dashed

094717-magic-millions-barrier-draw_compressedA busy and successful 24 hours for jockey Tommy Berry ended in disappointment on Tuesday morning when his Magic Millions Classic mount Carriages drew a horror barrier for the $2 million race at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Carriages drew the extreme outside barrier in a 21-horse field that includes five emergencies.

If the reserves fail to gain a start the Gai Waterhouse-trained Carriages Horseform will jump from gate 16, considered an almost impossible barrier in a Magic Millions and all but dashing Berry’s hopes of winning the race for the third time.

Berry was on hand for the barrier draw after he rode Carriages along the world famous Surfers Paradise beach as part of a pre-draw Magic Millions promotion early on Tuesday morning.

He had flown to the Gold Coast from Canberra on Monday night after riding at the Narooma Cup meeting at Moruya on the NSW south coast where he won three races including the feature event for Bede Murray aboard Life Of Reilly.

Canberra trainer John Nisbet – Berry’s future father-in-law – then drove Berry from Moruya to Canberra in time for his 8.30pm direct flight to the Coolangatta.

Berry, who won the 2011 MM Classic on Karuta Queen Horseform before claiming a protest victory in 2012 aboard Driefontein Horseform, was buoyant about the chances of Carriages before the barrier draw.

The Offer (Tommy Berry) trained by Gai Waterhouse wins the Sydney Cup (Group 1) at Randwick on April 19, 2014 - photo by Martin King / Sportpix - copyright

Tommy Berry and Gai Waterhouse (Photo:Racing and Sports)

”Others horses have been getting all the attention and that has seen Carriages slip down the betting order but I still think she is one of the best chances,” Berry said on Monday.

“She has the blinkers on for the first time and I am certain that is going to make a difference to her attitude.”

The MM Classic will be the first time Berry has ridden Carriages. In her previous two starts she has been ridden by Winona Costin for a debut third at Randwick followed by a win in the Clockwise Classic at Ballarat in Victoria when the filly was handled by Craig Williams.

Berry was due to ride Carriages in a lead-up in Brisbane last month but she missed the race due to a training setback and will go into the Magic Millions off a 49-day break since she raced at Ballarat on November 22.

The busy riding schedule continues for Berry until Saturday as he had to be back on Sydney on Tuesday afternoon and will ride at Warwick Farm on Wednesday and Gosford on Friday before returning to the Gold Coast.

Berry, who will marry Shani Nisbet during the autumn, has an added incentive to win Saturday’s MM Classic, won last year by his late twin brother Nathan aboard Unencumbered Horseform.

The victory was the biggest of Nathan’s career. Sadly he passed away in April after being struck down by an illness in Singapore.

Magic Millions has renamed the trophy for the winning jockey of Saturday’s 2YO Classic the Nathan Berry Medal.

Nathan’s widow Whitney, the daughter of top Sydney jockey Glyn Schofield, will present the Nathan Berry Medal to the winning jockey on Saturday.

Glyn Schofield will also be hoping to win the Nathan Berry Medal as he rides the Kevin Moses-trained Zoutenant Horseform, the last start winner of the MM Wyong Classic.

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