Apprentice Tommy Sherry has celebrated his most significant win with a well-judged ride aboard New Zealand-bred mare Expat (Makfi x Utmost Caution) in the Gr.2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) for his boss Mark Newnham.
The Makfi mare had to do some work early to get to the front but she relaxed beautifully once there and was able to lift when challenged late by Per Incanto mare Belluci Babe to post her eighth win from 13 starts.
A previous Group Three winner, it was both horse and rider’s first win at Group Two level, and Sherry is hopeful Expat can gain a berth in the Gr.1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill in three weeks to give him a shot at his maiden elite level success.
"I'm rapt. I have ridden two Group Threes but on provincial tracks, so it's my first Group Two and on a metropolitan track, which I'm stoked about," Sherry said.
"She still had a blow the last 50 metres and just toughness got her through the line.
"She is in terrific order and roll on three weeks to the Coolmore. If she gets in, I reckon she is a force to be reckoned with."
Newnham was equally effusive in his praise for Expat and said her racing style and ability to put herself on speed and then relax was her biggest asset.
Having captured the Gr.3 Belle Of The Turf Stakes at Gosford over a mile in the summer, he is confident she will handle the 1500 metres of the Coolmore around Rosehill, especially if the track is rain-affected.
"I think she deserves a crack at the Coolmore Classic now," Newnham said.
"She has been a gem and every time we have raised the bar, she has come to it.
"You never quite know what ceiling they have, and when they respond as well as she does under pressure, they tend to get in better races and come up with the class of horse."
Runner-up Belluci Babe, who sports the colours of breeders Little Avondale Stud, was also good through the line for trainer Bjorn Baker and jockey Jason Collett.
“She just got a bump on the way out and we lost our momentum. She was good to the line,” Collett said.
Expat is bred and raced by Australian Tony McGrath and is out of Galileo mare Utmost Caution, dam of stakes placed Mental Telepathy (Shocking) and another three winners. – NZ Racing Desk
WINNER: Expat, 2017 chestnut mare
BREEDING: by Makfi out of Utmost Caution by Galileo
BREEDER: T McGrath
RACE: ATC Millie Fox Stakes Gr.2 1300m