Impressive maiden wins give Hawkes-Berry combo a double

Team Hawkes and Tommy Berry have combined for an early double, with two exciting maiden winners at Canterbury on Wednesday.

Almighty Rising kicked off the day with a win in the Blue Point @ Darley Handicap, an 1100m maiden for two-year-olds.

It was the son of Flying Artie’s second race start, after finishing down the track on debut in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude in February.

Co-trainer Michael Hawkes said debuting in the Blue Diamond Prelude was an indication of the ability of the Almighty Rising.

“Obviously in Melbourne, Wayne had a bit of an opinion of this horse and we put him in the deep end and it just didn’t come to hand that day,” he said.

“He went to the paddock, we gelded him and tried to make a racehorse of him.

“His trial was good last week, he did everything right.

“He’s still wanting to learn a bit. He’s still running around a little bit in the straight but when he gets his mind to it and gets his mind on the job, I think he’s going to be a nice horse.”

Almighty Rising jumped from the widest barrier and was sent forward under Tommy Berry, with the gelding setting the tempo.

He ran out under pressure in the straight, ending up in the middle of the track, but was still good enough to hold off his fast-finishing rivals to score by 0.07 lengths.

Berry said the two-year-old has always shown quality.

“He’s always shown us quite a bit (of ability),” he said.

“I was really pleased with him in his trial. I thought he might need the run today, he still had a bit of a blow the other day so he’ll definitely take improvement out of it. He’s still very raw.

“He’s got more than what he gave today. He probably got a little bit tired late and wanted to wander around but it’ll be a good little stepping-stone for him.”

The trainer-jockey combination made it a race-to-race double to start the card, with Ibaraki running away for an impressive victory in the Vinery Stud Plate (1100m).

The son of Darci Brahma had easily won a trial only five days earlier and justified the short odds ($1.50) to come out an impressive 1.69 length winner.

Hawkes said the three-year-old has a bright future ahead of him.

“He only had the one trial going back a while (ago) but he trialled really good that day and we looked after him and put him away,” he said.

“He’s just a big, raw sort of horse. He only trialled last week and he did everything right.

“Today he was a little bit tardy away. He had to do a little bit of work to get across and once he relaxed he came back nice.

“He’s a big, strapping sort of horse, but more to the point, he’s still a baby and he doesn’t really know what he’s doing yet.

“I think as preps go on, you’re going to find a nice horse. He’s definitely got the makings to be something.”

Ibaraki was a little bit slow away from the barriers, but much like the race prior, Berry urged the three-year-old into a prominent position, sitting outside of the leader in running.

He eased his way into the lead with 250m to go, and when Berry pushed the button, he gapped his competitors and cruised to an easy win.Berry said the son of Darci Brahma will be better suited to a bigger track.

“He’s a horse we’ve always had a lot of time for, he’s been given time to mature,” he said.

“Today, thinking back on it, was the first time he’s been let off the bridle. In both of his trials he’s been well held on to because they’ve been on tracks that have been a bit chopped up.

“Sometimes on these tight tracks, they don’t get around them, they don’t feel as comfortable on them. But say you put them on Randwick with a soft track and let them travel for a bit longer, they let down and feel a lot more comfortable on soft ground.

“He’s definitely going to go through the classes and he’ll be better on a bigger track.”

Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au

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