Nathan Berry was happy to fill in for his twin brother Tommy on Teardrop Rock at Rosehill and repaid trainer Gai Waterhouse with a winning ride on the mare.
Teardrop Rock ($5) held out the Chris Waller-trained King Gladiator ($4.60 fav) in Saturday’s Inghams Love ‘Em Handicap (1900m) to the delight of her jockey.
“It’s great to pick up this ride for Gai and show Tom how it’s done,” Berry said tongue in cheek after the four-year-old scored by a short head over King Gladiator with three lengths to third placed Bellissimo ($8).
“Tom has gone down to Melbourne to ride the Queen (Karuta Queen) today and I’m happy I was the next one in line.”
The Neville-Layt-trained Karuta Queen finished a gallant second to champion mare Black Caviar in the Group Two Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield.
Berry originally thought he would be outside the leader on the stakes-placed Teardrop Rock but with plenty of early speed he elected to come back and sit just off the front runners.
Teardrop Rock, who ran subsequent Group One winner Sincero to a short head on Boxing Day last year, moved up in the straight to hit the front but had a fight on her hands as King Gladiator began to wind up on the outside.
King Gladiator had settled at the tail of the field and was forced to come wide on the home turn before making his run.
“I couldn’t have been happier where I was at the 600 metre mark,” Berry said.
“I had Fiscal where I wanted on my inside and she (Teardrop Rock) was enough of a push-button horse to keep him there and that helped me win the race.
“She was over 1900 metres second-up on a rain affected track which is a big ask but she won well.”
Berry admitted he thought King Gladiator, ridden by Rod Quinn, was going to run them down at the 100 metre mark.
“I thought I was gone when I saw Rodney (Quinn) coming but once she saw him she really fought him off,” he said.
King Gladiator is a chance to back up in next Saturday’s Listed Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Randwick.
Quinn said the four-year-old didn’t get a good enough run into the race from the 600 metre mark.
“He was only second up and did top on his run a bit at the end,” Quinn said.
“The other horse (Teardrop Rock) gave too good a kick.”