Champion jockey Tommy Berry will be back in the saddle on Monday after being given the green light to have the terms of his disqualification varied over the tips-for-benefits scandal involving a Gold Coast butcher.
Berry, who is poised to resume riding in Sydney’s rich The Everest carnival, will return to trackwork on Monday after Racing NSW agreed to a request following the high-profile inquiry for improper dealings with punter Zaid Miller.
Berry is on track to resume race riding on September 24 — a week before Epsom day at Royal Randwick — but was set to be allowed to resume trackwork in late August after a decision from the Racing NSW Appeals panel.
The panel imposed a seven-month disqualification and one-month suspension after a hearing found Miller, who once boasted of supplying meat to former NRL player Jarryd Hayne, had deposited $15,000 into the account of Berry’s mother from winning bets after speaking to the jockey.
Berry hadn’t sought permission from stewards to have the money sent to his mother, which officials deemed was used to make minor renovations to a house he owned. His mother lived at the property.
But Racing NSW have agreed to a request from Berry to have his return date changed to resume trackwork next week. He will then be allowed to ride in barrier trials from late August as he builds his fitness before a return to competitive racing.
Tommy Berry will return to trackwork next week.Credit: Getty
“[Berry] made an application to ride trackwork during the final period of his disqualification,” Racing NSW’s chief steward Steve Railton said. “Racing NSW took into account all the relevant considerations, including jockeys returning from disqualifications, and the ruling is he’s permitted to resume trackwork from the 17th of July for a six-week period.”
The inquiry was the biggest integrity investigation in the state for years, with Miller found to have won $43,715 backing Character to win last year’s Tulloch Stakes and $28,790 on Waterford in a Warwick Farm race after tips from Berry.
Berry was also found to have used his mobile phone regularly over more than a year in the jockeys’ room, a contravention of the rules of racing. He has spent his disqualification working on a turf farm in, where he is one of the most popular figures in the sport.
The jockey has won the Golden Slipper three times and next year will be trying to equal Ron Quinton and Shane Dye as the most successful rider in the history of the world’s richest two-year-old race.
The $20 million The Everest will be held just three weeks after Berry is back riding in races.
Miller is serving his own 12-month penalty for breaches in the affair. The Racing NSW appeals panel found “in light of Miller’s known betting activity, a longer disqualification would benefit [him].”