Astute trainer Mick Kent gave Nigel and Meredith Berry and their Illowra Stud a night to celebrate last Friday when two of their homebreds saluted at the Valley.
First to win was the talented Comic Set in the opener, the William Hill Handicap over 1200m.
Comic Set, is a son of Reset out of the Distorted Humor mare Riddles, a winner in Brisbane from the family that produced outstanding stallion Hussonet.
Meredith Berry said that Riddles unfortunately died during birth to Comic Set.
“With the help of Malcolm Boyd from Bullarook Stud we were able to foster him successfully,” Merdith said.
Oncidium Ruler gave the Berrys their second homebred win later in the night with the talented gelding enjoying the step up to 2500 metres.
“He was determined today and should get a lot of confidence out of this run. A lot straighter, he will come on from this experience and win more races,” jockey Craig Williams said.
Meredith recalls that Kent was first taken with Oncidium Ruler when he saw him in a paddock at their Nagambie based stud.
Kent had travelled up on a Breeders Club tour and fell in love with him. Being a real Zabeel type through his sire, Reset, Kent said then and there “I’ll take him!”
Kent has trained for the Berrys ever since.
Oncidium Ruler is the second winner for the Zabeel mare Princess Regina, who is also dam of the city placed four-time winner Za Za Zoom. Princess Regina paid a return visit to Helmet last season having produced a lovely weanling colt.
Nigel and Meredith have a long and celebrated horse history both in the equestrian and thoroughbred racing sectors.
Nigel was president of the Yarra Glen Hunt Club and represented Victoria in three-day eventing, being short-listed for the 1990 World Equestrian Games.
They purpose bred event horses and started the long running and popular Yarra Glen Pony Club ODE.
Nigel’s passion for breeding thoroughbreds actually came from his experience in genetics when he used to breed and show chickens as a child in Footscray.
When at the show grounds one day, he visited Flemington next door during a race meeting and was hooked.
With the help of renowned jumps trainers Dennis Heather and Stan Craddock, he learnt about handling and training thoroughbreds and point-to-point riding. And the Berrys haven’t looked back since.