For most people, Wednesday’s Warwick Farm card was just another midweek Sydney meeting.
For Tommy Berry, it was a little more significant.
Berry turned 24 on Wednesday, his first birthday since the death last April of his twin brother and fellow jockey Nathan from the rare Norse syndrome.
The day would have also marked the 60th birthday of Guy Walter, the popular trainer who died suddenly of a heart attack just over a month after the racing industry lost Nathan.
The absence of the two men was felt heavily by many at Warwick Farm, the track where Walter trained and where the Berry twins grew up.
For Tommy Berry, who had a full book of seven rides, it was a tough day on and off the track with his best result a second on O’Reilly’s Revenge in the final race.
The young jockey has shown tremendous courage since the loss of his brother and again handled a difficult day with grace.
“The first one is obviously the hardest I would think,” Berry said.
“But they will be celebrating up there together.”
It was also a poignant day for fellow jockey Blake Shinn who had been Walter’s stable rider.
After winning on the Bede Murray-trained Fine Mist in Wednesday’s Drummond Handicap, Shinn dedicated the victory to Walter who he regarded as a father-figure.
“It is an emotional day,” Shinn said.
“I’m sure everyone is sparing a thought for him today so it’s great to be able to get a winner on the day for him.”
Gary Portelli notched a win for the locals when All My Loving enjoyed an unimpeded run down the outside to beat the luckless Artibai in the TAB Rewards Handicap.
The horse stretched out better than its trainer who was sporting a moon boot on his right foot after dislocating his ankle in a stable mishap last week.
Portelli said he had been reminded of Walter’s absence recently when he walked across the grass to speak to his jockeys at trackwork.
He said Walter had worn a path on the earth during his daily trip from the clocking tower to talk to his riders and it was known as `Walter’s path’.
“I went to walk out to my riders the other day where Guy used to always be and the path was gone,” Portelli said.