Tommy Berry on Rebel Dane in Stradbroke
Gary Portelli has jumped at the chance to secure Tommy Berry to ride Rebel Dane in the Stradbroke Handicap amid speculation Glen Boss will ride Srikandi.
Portelli said he could not wait for Boss to decide and risk losing the chance to book Berry for the second favourite in Brisbane’s premier race on June 7.
Srikandi is the Stradbroke favourite following her win in Saturday’s Glenlogan Park Stakes and the decision by connections to pay a late entry fee to put her in the field.
“Unfortunately the situation was that Bossy came up with another nice filly this year,” Portelli said.
“We were of the understanding he was booked for the preparation but then once this filly won he wanted to have a look at the weights before making his decision.
“We basically didn’t want to wait and miss out on Tommy.
“There was pressure coming from his side because obviously he was going to miss out on a ride in the race if we didn’t book him.
“The owners and myself made a decision that Tommy was the rider in the best form.
“He’s the new whiz kid and he’s riding with so much confidence. His style of riding is also one where he’s great at getting these horses coming from off the pace to get through fields.”
Because she has not yet been entered, Srikandi was not given a weight when handicaps were released on Monday but is expected to get 50.5kg.
Weights will go up at least half a kilogram with confirmation Buffering will not run with 59kg. Spirit Of Boom will be the new topweight with the required 58kg.
Portelli was a little surprised at Rebel Dane’s 56kg after the horse ran fourth to Spirit Of Boom with Boss aboard in Saturday’s Doomben 10,000.
“I thought he might get in a bit lighter,” he said.
“He goes up half a kilo so at 56-1/2 he’s probably weighted right up to his best.”
Berry, who is riding on a short term contract in Hong Kong, will also ride Almalad in the Group One J J Atkins and Elusive Runner in the Queensland Derby when he returns for Stradbroke day.
Portelli has a long history with Berry and his late brother Nathan who grew up in the Warwick Farm precinct.
“As a kid Tommy used to run around the streets with his pushbike and tell me he wanted to be apprenticed to me when he grew up,” he said.
“I always thought he would be too big to be an apprentice.”
“But he’s the best rider in Australia at the moment.”
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