Tommy Berry has turned his frustrating Hong Kong season around with victory aboard Pakistan Star in the Group One Champions & Chater Cup at Sha Tin.
Berry, who left Sydney to take up a position as stable jockey for John Moore at the beginning of the season, is now riding freelance and rode two other winners on Sunday’s program.
The enigmatic Tony Cruz-trained Pakistan Star was at his best, adding the win to his last-start victory in the Group One Audemars Piguet Cup when he was ridden by William Buick.
“There were no worries today,” Berry told the HK Jockey Club.
“I was pretty happy 20 metres after the barriers because he’s been known, especially in his trials, to jump out and want to get a little bit keen with some good early speed.
“I can’t express how good a job Tony has done with this horse – to go from not racing at the start of the season, to miss December and then to win two Group Ones on end, and not just to win them but to smash them, it’s a big effort.”
Before Sunday, Berry had ridden 13 winners from 74 meetings.
“It’s been a very frustrating season for me and, I must admit, I’m not used to having a quiet patch,” he said.
“I’ve been blessed in my 10 years of riding to have a pretty smooth run, whether I’ve travelled internationally or stayed at home. I have to thank John, it’s because of him that I’m getting opportunities like this.
“I also have to thank Tony and the connections. I know myself, if I’d told the connections that I was going to put on a jockey that had ridden 13 winners and that was out of form, I’d be second-guessing what Tony was doing, but they have stuck solid since I rode him in the trial before the QEII. There were nights I’d be laying in bed, waiting for the call to tell me that I wasn’t on him because my form hadn’t been good enough.
“Today, though, I’ve been in the zone and it’s felt like everything used to be for me.
“Hopefully this is a turning point.”
Pakistan Star’s win gains him entry to the Caulfield Cup but Cruz said he was more likely to stay at home to be prepared for the Hong Kong Cup in December.