Crusader Heads To Randwick Without Berry

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Tommy Berry finds himself in the rare position of riding against exciting galloper Masked Crusader when the horse continues his spring campaign at Randwick.

The top jockey has been aboard for his three Sydney runs but will ride rival Quantico in Saturday’s Bisley Workwear Handicap (1200m) after Hawkes Racing opted to claim on Masked Crusader.

Apprentice Brock Ryan has picked up the plum mount and his allowance will reduce the four-year-old’s impost to 59 kilos.

“It’s always a bit disappointing when things don’t go your way but 61 (kilos) is a lot for a horse to carry and he is only second up so he’s got a bit of improvement,” Berry said.

“I’m sure I will get back on him after that so I’ll look forward to it.”

Masked Crusader reeled off slick final sectionals when he just failed to run down Varda first up on a heavy track last month.

Touted as a wildcard for the $15 million The Everest, the horse is an odds-on favourite to bounce back to the winner’s list at Randwick.

Berry is happy to have picked up the mount on $13 chance Quantico and after riding the John O’Shea-trained entire in a recent barrier trial, he regards him as a knockout chance.

“He is a nice colt and you won’t see too many better types in the yard,” Berry said.

“He has drawn poorly (14) so he’ll get back and whether there’s enough speed for him to run over the top of them late will be the deciding factor.”

A son of top stallion I Am Invincible, Quantico has won three of his five starts, including back-to-back victories at Newcastle and Eagle Farm in June.

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