By Ray Hickson
When you see a leading jockey like Tommy Berry with just one ride on a Sunday such a cameo is worth noting.
The popular hoop heads to Hawkesbury to partner a filly called Sylvia’s Mother in the Friend Civil Handicap (1100m) for his long-time supporters the Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes stable.
Berry, and it’s likely plenty of punters, will be hoping the hit and run mission is a hit.
“They may have had a rider organised and it didn’t work out so I got the late call up,’’ Berry said.
“As a rule I don’t really ride Sundays, it’s the one day of the week I get to enjoy with the kids.
“I would expect her to go there and win, I’d be disappointed if she didn’t. Both because it’s interrupting my Sunday and I think she is better than that.’’
Sylvia’s Mother was a dominant $2.30 favourite with TAB on Saturday afternoon to resume with a win.
She has only had the two starts for a city placing, a third behind Ready To Prophet at Warwick Farm, and a Hawkesbury win in August and Berry partnered her to that easy victory over the 1100m.
The Snitzel three-year-old went through her paces in a trial at Rosehill a couple of weeks back and, importantly, Berry is confident a soft track won’t be a reason if she is defeated.
“I’ve won on her and trialled her, I have got a bit of time for her but she still has to go out and prove it,’’ he said.
“She’s not overly big and hasn’t grown a heap.
"She feels like she has the right action to get through a soft track so I wouldn’t be worried about that.’’
Sylvia’s Mother wins her trial at Rosehill on December 4
Meanwhile, there’s a prime opportunity for the David Payne-trained Rock Zone to post his first win in the JSJ Roofing Handicap (1600m) at his 12th attempt.
The gelding was runner-up to Welsh Legend at Canterbury two weeks ago and that horse has since proven the form with an unlucky second on Friday night.
Andrew Adkins, who was on board at Hawkesbury two starts ago, rides Rock Zone again on Sunday and feels he is well placed.
“He has the best form in the race and is going to get a nice run,’’ Adkins said.
“When I rode him (at Hawkesbury) it was a good effort and I knew there was improvement.
“I thought he was a good hope at Canterbury and he ran into a nice horse, coming back to the provincials he will be very competitive.’’
Payne scratched Rock Zone from Friday night in preference for the Hawkesbury race and it could be a masterstroke. The three-year-old was $3.40 equal favourite with TAB on Saturday to record that maiden win.