If there is a horse in Sydney racing that defies the adage that it is not how you start but how you finish, it is last-start winner Terwilliker.
Terwilliker is one of two Rosehill runners who will have in-form jockey Tommy Berry on high alert in the barriers.
Berry enjoyed one of his most prolific afternoons on a racetrack last weekend when he rode four winners at Randwick.
He has another solid book of eight rides at Rosehill on Saturday, including Terwilliker in the Stayers’ Cup (3200m) and Trumbull in the Listed Civic Stakes (1350m).
But Berry will need to have his wits about him as both horses are renowned for their sluggish ways out of the barrier.
And for the dour stayer Terwilliker, the start will be everything to his chances.
“It’s more of a problem for Terwilliker because he’s no good unless he’s on the speed,” Berry said.
“He is very one-paced and he’s at his best when he can outstay his rivals.
“Trumbull is a horse where it’s not the be-all and end-all. If he doesn’t jump, he can still win from back there but if he does jump, it makes his task a lot easier.”
Berry found the key to last-start winner Terwilliker when he was aggressive aboard the Anthony Cummings-trained stayer in the opening furlongs and took up the running.
He plans to employ the same tactics despite an 800m distance rise.
“It’s the only way you can be. It’s 3200 (metres) so there’s probably not going to be as much pressure early but just to switch him on and let him know he’s in a race, you have to be aggressive on him early,” Berry said.
The Kim Waugh-trained Trumbull gets a chance at a stakes race after a string of top-four finishes, his form consistent despite his tendency to amble out of the barriers.
Berry rides him for the first time and feels the hard-fit gelding is well placed close to the limit weight.
“He’s the in-form horse in the race and while it’s a step up in grade for him, winter time is a good opportunity for him to get a bit of black-type,” Berry said.
The top jockey went to Randwick last week confident he had a couple of leading chances but not expecting to score on four.
While he does not rate any of his Rosehill mounts as standouts, he says several are capable of winning without surprising, including Trumbull.
“It’s competitive racing and this time of year you just need fit horses, they’re usually the ones that are going to end up on top,” Berry said.