Tommy Berry has picked up the prized ride on Maurice, should the champion Japanese galloper line-up in the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen on June 5.

Maurice, rated Japan’s Horse Of The Year in 2015, was dominant winning the Champions Mile at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on May 1.

Joao Moreira rode Maurice to victory in Hong Kong but is unable to ride in the Yasuda Kinen as he is not on a licensed contract in Japan.

“I’ve ridden some pretty special horses in my short career and this bloke looks as though he will be right up there, I’m pretty excited to be honest,” Berry said.

“It is something that has been in the pipeline for some time and hopefully he will line up in the race.”

Maurice is currently in quarantine at Tokyo Racecourse following his trip to Hong Kong.

He has won his past seven races, including four-consecutive Group 1s.

English jockey Ryan Moore rode Maurice twice at the end of 2015, winning both the Mile Championship at Kyoto and the Hong Kong Mile at the International meeting in December.

But like Moreira, Moore is not currently licensed to ride in Japan, paving the way for Berry to get the opportunity.

“When I first got asked to come to Japan, I had the option of riding for Noriyuki Hori and Yukihiro Kato,” Berry said.

“I ended up going with Mr Kato but have kept a very good relationship with Mr Hori too.

“Coming back to Japan for this six-week stint, there was always the possibility I would get to ride Maurice, given Ryan Moore and Joao Moreira were not going to be available.

“I kept a close eye on Maurice in Hong Kong, watching all his trackwork and I took special notice of him in the Champions Mile knowing there was a chance I would get the ride in the Yasuda Kinen.

“Winning on Chautauqua was pretty special, but it was also exciting to know that I could ride Maurice having witnessed what he did to that field live.

“The Yasuda Kinen meeting is my last in Japan before I come back to Australia so hopefully we can go out on a bang.”

Berry is thoroughly enjoying his time in Japan and rode three winners at the weekend.

He is riding in Tokyo on Saturday before heading to Kyoto on Sunday.