Saturday 24 March 2018

Berry on move to England after landing top job with Beckett


Jockey Fran Berry is to leave Kildare and base himself in England. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Jockey Fran Berry is to leave Kildare and base himself in England. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Thomas Kelly

In a surprise move, Fran Berry is to leave his native Kildare and base himself in England after landing a plum job as stable jockey to Classic-winning trainer Ralph Beckett.

Berry - son of former champion jump jockey Frank - has been one of this country's leading Flat riders for many years and passed the 1,000-winner mark last year.

The 35-year-old was first jockey with John Oxx for a while and enjoyed his maiden Group One success on Pathfork for Jessica Harrington in the National Stakes at the Curragh in 2010.

Beckett, who saddled the filly Simple Verse to take the English St Leger at Doncaster last September, has been without a stable jockey since Jim Crowley went freelance in 2014.

"I am delighted to announce that we have come to an arrangement with Fran Berry to ride as first jockey at Kimpton Down," the trainer told his own website.

"He and his family will relocate to this area early next month, and he will be riding out here on a daily basis. Jockey's agent Tony Hind, will be booking his rides.

"At times, I have found the last 18 months frustrating without a first-choice rider. Fran, at 35 years old, is in his prime, and as a Group One-winning rider with international experience, this is an ideal solution."

Meanwhile, veteran Darryll Holland had his first winner since returning to England as stable jockey for Charlie Hills yesterday when securing a narrow success on Kyllukey at Lingfield.

Since he last rode regularly on the circuit in December 2012, Holland has been trying his hand in warmer climes, enjoying stints in South Korea and most recently Mauritius.

The 43-year-old was lured back by the opportunity to return to where his career began as Hills' father Barry gave Holland his first job in racing as a 15-year-old and this was just his third ride back.

However, it was a close-run thing with Kyllukey (9/2) just getting up by a short head to deny Phantom Flipper in the six-furlong maiden.

"It's good to be back," Holland said. "It's nice to ride my first winner for Charlie Hills."

Irish Independent

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