“Love you Nath.”
Those were the words jockey Tommy Berry used to celebrate after winning the first race at Rosehill on Saturday, a day after he returned from his twin brother’s bedside.
Nathan Berry has been in a Singapore hospital since collapsing at trackwork at Kranji racecourse last Tuesday week.
He has since been diagnosed with NORSE Syndrome, a serious illness which causes severe seizures, and placed in an induced coma.
For Tommy, fist-pumping as he sailed past the post to win the Manion Cup on The Offer to the cheers of the crowd, it was a victory that clearly meant more than most.
“He’s the strongest person I’ve ever met and he’d want me to come back today and be just as strong for him,” Berry said after the race, voice wavering.
An emotional Berry admitted it had been a hard decision to leave his brother’s side, but the racing community had helped him through the trying time.
Despite the difficult circumstances, the level-headed rider said he could do his job “in his sleep”, even telling trainer Gai Waterhouse the horse had almost taken care of business on his own.
“When he hits the front he just keeps going,” Berry said.
“Took me two furlongs (400m) to pull him up.”
The Offer had been tracking midfield in the 2400-metre Group Three race behind Opinion before surging to the lead in the home straight.
In a brief statement before the race, Tommy had urged the racing community to pray for his twin brother.
A Sydney jockey, Nathan had been riding on a short-term contract in Singapore since the beginning of March.
The 23-year-old’s wins this season include the Magic Millions Classic on Golden Slipper-bound colt Unencumbered in January.