Berry in prime position for third Golden Slipper

Tommy Berry can sense a third Golden Slipper after Saturday's stunning win by Cellsabeel.

Cellsabeel made a real statement in her return to racing, monstering her rivals to win by six lengths in the Iron Jack Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens.

The boom filly was so dominant, she was immediately elevated to the top of betting at $8 for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper at Rosehill on March 21.

Berry knows what it takes to win the Golden Slipper, having won it on Overreach (2013) and Vancouver (2015), and he is convinced Cellsabeel is capable of adding her name to the honour roll of winners.

"I gave her a click before the corner just to stay on the back of them,'' Berry said. "She ended up pulling me through them and I got there way too early but she was going two to their one. The best part about it, even though she has won by a margin, she was floating the last furlong.

"She doesn't know how to put a race away yet but that just shows how good she is.''

Ciaron Maher, who trains in partnership with David Eustace, made the trip from Melbourne to watch Cellsabeel.

 

Jockey Tommy Berry and Cellsabeel charge to the easiest of victories.
Jockey Tommy Berry and Cellsabeel charge to the easiest of victories.

 

"She is very good,'' Maher said. "She is en route to the Golden Slipper; she looked to do that pretty easily.''

Cellsabeel ($2 favourite) exploded clear of her rivals to win by a widening six lengths from the Godolphin duo of In Flanders ($11) and Beyliks ($3.80).

Early leader Return With Honour ($5.50) was a beaten horse on the turn with jockey Glyn Schofield adding the colt didn't handle the heavy track.

 

Trainer Ciaron Maher made the trip north to watch Cellsabeel.
Trainer Ciaron Maher made the trip north to watch Cellsabeel.

 

The wet track will be used as an excuse for a number of the beaten runners yesterday but it should not detract from the sheer brilliance of Cellsabeel's win.

"Is it a Good 4 out there? Felt like it!'' Berry said. "She has brilliant acceleration and is a big, strong filly.''

Cellsabeel gave Berry and the training partnership a Sydney juvenile double for the weekend after the debut win of Prague at Canterbury on Friday night.

Both youngsters were expensive yearlings - Cellsabeel cost $400,000 and Prague $1.6 million - and Berry said the stablemates "have their share of ability''.

 

Tommy Berry on Cellsabeel takes out the Iron Jack Handicap.
Tommy Berry on Cellsabeel takes out the Iron Jack Handicap.

 

"Prague is very good, he's a lovely colt but not as sharp as Cellsabeel,'' he said. "She feels like a Slipper horse and he feels more like a Sires' and Champagne Stakes horse.'' Cellsabeel also firmed to $1.80 favouritism for the $2 million Inglis Millennium at Warwick Farm on February 8, but Maher said the filly is not a certain starter.

Maher is conscious that any prizemoney Cellsabeel earns from the Inglis Millennium doesn't count towards the filly qualifying for a Golden Slipper start.

"She is not definite to go to the Inglis Millennium, we need to have a think about it,'' he said. "But she is on her way now.''

Maher said Cellsabeel "put the writing on the wall" at her previous start when fourth to Dame Giselle in the Golden Gift in November.

"She had a wide gate and got back that day but ran on well for fourth and her sectionals were great on a day when they weren't making a lot of ground,'' Maher said.

"But Annabel Neasham, who looks after our Sydney stable, has done a sensational job with this filly and Tommy (Berry) gave her a lovely kind ride, producing her at the right time. This filly has always been a high-quality horse and will improve with race experience.''

Maher also has Away Game being aimed at the Slipper and Muntaseera on the Blue Diamond trail.


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