Tommy Berry has jumped at the chance to ride Rothfire in Saturday's Stradbroke Handicap after getting the call-up from trainer Rob Heathcote.
An offer to ride the top-class galloper Rothfire in a piece of work has led to Berry landing the plum ride on the son of Rothesay in this weekend's Group 1 contest over 1400 metres, for which he is a 12/1 chance. You can follow the action via our Sports Live Streaming platform.
Usual partner James Orman is unable to make weight in the race, meaning Berry will now get the call-up with the pair jumping from barrier 20, as Rothfire drops back to handicap conditions.
"He had to do a bit of work the other day to find cover with 59 [kilos] on his back and he drops down to 54.5 kilograms. He is going to be a great chance," Berry said.
After running out of condition late when a first-up fifth in the Group 2 Victory Stakes, Rothfire then filled the same position on unsuitably heavy ground in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 before finishing fourth in the Kingsford-Smith Cup (Gr 1, 1300m) behind Apache Chase (Better Than Ready), beaten by less than half a length.
Trainer Heathcote admits that the four-year-old may not be the same as he was pre-injuries, but still feels he retains plenty of class.
"He probably defies veterinary science, the fact he is back racing in Group 1 grade," Heathcote said.
"To have fractured a sesamoid and had two chips the size of your thumb nail removed, it is extraordinary he has come back this far.
"But he is sound, he's healthy. Is he as good as what he was? No. But he's still a good horse."