The Maurice McCarten Stakes is expected to be a track gallop for Deep Field but the race could evolve into something more testing.
At $1.40 the four-year-old is the shortest-priced favourite on Saturday’s Rosehill program as he looks to atone for a last-start defeat in the Group One Lightning Stakes.
Tommy Berry, who has been doing the bulk of riding for the Hawkes stable since James McDonald committed to being the first-call jockey for Godolphin, will partner Deep Field for the first time.
Like bookmakers, Berry expects him to win but he has cautioned that the presence of two rival front-runners will add a tactical dimension to the race.
“I think this is just a confidence-booster,” Berry said.
“But it’s always hard in races like this. He’s a leader usually but he’s got I’m All The Talk and Kencella in the race which is going to be a bit of a nuisance to him.
“He’s the best horse in the race so he should be able to overcome that.”
Berry will ride all four Hawkes Racing runners at Rosehill including Ninth Legion in the Ajax Stakes and two-year-old Rageese in the Pago Pago Stakes.
Rageese finished sixth on debut at Rosehill in November when he was shut out of an inside run before regathering himself to make late ground.
Berry isn’t expecting him to make a belated case for Golden Slipper inclusion but he does believe the colt has the potential to figure in the later two-year-old triple crown races.
“He’s not a 1200-metre horse by any means, he will be better over the Sires’, Champagne trip if he’s good enough to go that way,” Berry said.
“But we think, off his work at home, he’s got his fair share of ability.
“If he can’t win on Saturday I’ll be looking forward to him later on.”
Deep Field to make light work of G3 sprint
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au