Before Tommy Berry even started riding he wanted to win a Melbourne Cup and the Sydney jockey believes Youngstar has a chance to help him complete the feat at Flemington on Tuesday.
Berry has been a regular fixture in Melbourne Cups in recent years, coming closest in 2015 when the Ed Dunlop-trained Trip To Paris ran fourth as 100-1 shot Prince Of Penzance stole a famous win.
He rode Auvray in the race last year when Youngstar finished sixth under the urgings of Craig Williams. On Tuesday Berry will link up with the Chris Waller-trained mare as she looks to provide himself and Sydney’s leading trainer with a first taste of Melbourne Cup success.
“You dream about winning a Melbourne Cup before you dream about being a jockey,” Berry said.
“It is only comes around once year, it’s hard to get rides in the race let alone decent rides. She is a very good stayer on her day and she will make her presence felt.”
Youngstar hasn’t won a race since saluting in the Queensland Oaks in May last year but has given Berry every indication that she can return to her best in the Melbourne Cup.
“She has given me a great feel, especially her gallop Tuesday morning,” Berry said.
“It was a gallop that suggested I am ready to go. She will be the one with the fresh legs because she hasn’t had too many runs over the longer distances.
“She could sit somewhere like she did in last year’s Melbourne Cup.
“For Chris to put her in the race says enough. He said to me she wouldn’t be there if she wasn’t going to be very competitive. I think I have got a lot of confidence out of her.
“I was walking out on the track with Hughie Bowman the other day and he said ‘are you riding her in the Cup’.
“I said ‘yes and he said don’t worry, she is going really well’. She gave him a great feel the other day and he said she is not without a hope.”
Youngstar heads into the Melbourne Cup on the back of a third placing in the St Leger (2600m) at Randwick
It was the first time since last year’s Cup that the daughter of High Chaparral got the opportunity to step up over a mile and a half.
“Her form at 2400m and above is brilliant,” Berry said.
“She has had the run where she ran sixth in the Cup last year, she won an Oaks and the other day she was unlucky not to win the St Leger.
“Her first two runs this preparation were well short of her best trip. They were slowly run races which made it hard for her to come from behind but at times every start suggested that she was still going well.
“If we keep getting this rain like we have had it is obviously going to enhance her chances. She gets in with a light weight and she is trained by Chris Waller so what more do you want.”
TAB.com.au listed Youngstar at $34 to win the Melbourne Cup. – Racenet.com.au