Sunday, February 14, 2010

Berry blowtorched, apprentices outed - Fairfax - 14th February 2010

A ride apprentice Nathan Berry described as ''ordinary'' and ''immature'' will come under further scrutiny this week.

Berry spent 20 minutes in the Canterbury stewards room on Friday night being grilled by chief stipes Mark Van Gestel and Ray Murrihy over his ride on Rubirose, which ran third to the impressive De Lightning Ridge in the final event at Canterbury.

''It looked terrible,'' Murrihy told Berry.

Stewards are concerned with Berry's ride in the first 200m of the race. After jumping in front, Rubirose dropped back to second last before charging to the line.

The owner of Rubirose was very disappointed with the ride after trainer Kevin Moses gave instructions to have it in the box seat behind the leaders.

The inquiry was adjourned to allow Berry to be represented and stewards want to question Moses. It is likely to be held later this week.

The Canterbury meeting was an unhappy one for apprentices, with Blake Spriggs and Ben Vassallo both suspended for careless riding.


Wagering on Betfair in regard to the defeat of a red-hot favourite at the Sunshine Coast last month is causing Queensland stewards concern. The QR flyer said the inquiry into the defeat of Baby Boom was last week ''expanded to include the running and handling'' of the horse.

Of particular concern to stipes was ''the Betfair activity on the race surrounding Baby Boom which indicated that a large volume of money had been wagered in support of the horse being unsuccessful''.

Baby Boom finished fourth as the $1.30 favourite. Trainer John Nikolic and jockey John Keating have been interviewed by stewards. Nikolic is the brother of high-profile Victorian jockey Danny Nikolic, who is also at the centre of a Betfair-related inquiry.

On Friday, QR stewards stated ''evidence was taken from Mr Nikolic regarding his association with a Gold Coast punter who at this stage has declined requests from stewards to assist in their investigations''.

Chief stipe Wade Birch interviewed a Melbourne-based commission agent last week. The inquiry has been adjourned.


Will Jimmy Cassidy turn up to good mate's Nick Moraitis's birthday party today? Cassidy pulled the wrong rein at Randwick yesterday when choosing not to ride Sophistication, which is owned by his mate Moraitis.

Cassidy was offered the ride the six-year-old but opted for Dillinger, which failed by a neck to run down Sophistication.

''I offered Jimmy the ride but wanted to ride Dillinger,'' trainer Joe Pride said. ''And I thought at about 100 metres he was going to be proven right but my bloke was holding him on the line.''

Premiership-leading apprentice Tommy Berry was the lucky one to pick up the ride on Sophistication and was in good spirits as he got off the scale.

''Happy birthday to Mr Moraitis for tomorrow,'' he said.

Cassidy could offer no excuses for Dillinger.

''I had my chance to run him down,'' he said. ''[Dillinger] just needs a quicker tempo than that.''


Allan Denham is eyeing the Doncaster Handicap with problem galloper Tobique. The four-year-old was up to the old tricks when laying in down the running but still proved too strong to win the fourth at Randwick yesterday.

''I think Chris Munce rode him a bit close the other day and Corey [Brown] got back today,'' Denham said.

''He has had leg issues and I don't want to push him to hard to early. I've got him in the Doncaster. I was thinking about the BMW but I won't get the miles into him.''

Brown said: ''Obviously he has had a few problems but he is shaping up to have a nice campaign.''


Several players at the coalface are calling one jockey the ''smiling assassin'' and it has little to do with winning.

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