There was no dream result for the horse Nathan Berry should have ridden in the Golden Slipper but the presence of his family and friends at Rosehill on Saturday was a victory of the human spirit.
Berry, who died on Thursday from a rare illness, was to have ridden the Bjorn Baker-trained colt Unencumbered in the $3.5 million race.
The Slipper was won by Mossfun who led in seven fillies to fill the first seven placings.
Her 22-year-old former New Zealand jockey James McDonald is just a year younger than Berry and took time to reflect on the past few days.
“It was one of the biggest shocks I’ve come across in racing,” McDonald said.
“I’ve only had two years to get to know Nathan. He was an absolute gentleman.
“He would be the first person to ever come up and congratulate me or if anyone ever won a big race, he’d be the first one there.
“That’s the kind of bloke he was.
“This is where racing comes together and it’s amazing when they do.”
Craig Williams, who rode Unencumbered, said his wide barrier of 13 of 16 was against him.
Berry’s twin brother and fellow rider Tommy made the decision he would ride at the meeting as did Nathan’s father-in-law Glyn Schofield and brother-in-law Chad Schofield.
Chad finished best in the big race when third on Bring Me The Maid after earlier winning the Sebring Stakes on Flamberge.
Although he didn’t ride a winner at the meeting, Tommy Berry did his job as best he could in the memory of his brother.
The Berry and Schofield families will return to Rosehill on Tuesday for a public service to commmemorate Nathan’s life.