A bond forged through tragedy has made Tommy Berry’s third Golden Slipper victory on Stay Inside one to be cherished.
The star Sydney jockey has won the $3.5 million race twice before aboard Overreach (2013) and Vancouver (2015) but Saturday’s triumph on the Michael and Richard Freedman-trained Stay Inside carried extra significance.
Berry’s twin brother and fellow jockey Nathan answered a call to be Michael Freedman’s stable rider when he was based in Singapore and it was there he contracted a rare virus in 2014 that cut short his young life.
Tommy was originally offered the Singapore role but turned it down due to other commitments.
“I had already accepted the offer to ride in Hong Kong, so Michael got Nathan to go over and ride for him,” Berry said.
“Nathan was stable rider until he passed.
“Michael, his wife, Anna, and his whole family, what they did to support us was something I won’t ever forget, and Dr Teo and China Horse Club also helped us so much.”
Michael Freedman was also emotional after Stay Inside’s dominant win and said it was poignant that 30-year-old Berry delivered it.
James Mcdonald was pencilled in to ride the colt but after he was beaten in the Todman Stakes, McDonald opted to partner Home Affairs, who finished eighth.
“We’re very close. It goes back to the Singapore days when Nathan was stable rider for me up there and tragically passed away,” Freedman said.
“Tommy and I have had a pretty special bond since then, so I guess there is a touch of irony that he ended up on that horse today.”
Written by Mandy Cottell