A Berry Good Night!

Feb 27, 2017

What an amazing night it was for Nigel and Meredith Berry at Moonee Valley, the couple delighted when Comic Set charged home to become their first winner at the track - and happier still when five races later Oncidium Ruler made it a double!

"A great night!" Nigel enthused, happy that years of planning is paying off with his horses at Illowra Stud at Nagambie patiently handled from birth - given plenty of time to mature and fulfil their promise.

"We don't take them to the yearling sales, we just breed between four and eight foals a year and race them with friends," Nigel said.

Having just his third start Comic Set had been impressive swamping his rivals from the rear at Yarra Valley in January - losing no fans with a close up fifth ridden closer to the pace at his next start at Sandown.

Appreciating a step up from 1200m to 1500m, Comic Set was a little slowly away but jockey Mark Zahra was not concerned, noting that "the plan was to ride him quietly anyway."

"The speed was good, I was in a nice spot and he had them covered from around the turn," he said.

Michael Kent Jnr was on the microphone post-race, describing Comic Set as "a slender built horse who has always shown ability."

"He is a very progressive type who, being by Reset, will just get better with age."

A particuarly tough performer considering that he was an orphan foal, Comic Set is out the Brisbane winning Distorted Humor mare Riddles and he is his dam's third winner for the Berrys.

Also not jumping especially well, Oncidium Ruler is another horse who likes to settle and storm home though he ended up making his run a long way out, jockey Craig Williams admitting that things did not go smoothly for the five-year-old.

"They went slowly so I thought at the 1000m I should pull out and get closer," he said, dismayed when the horse he hoped to follow slotted back into the rails.

"Even though it was a bad ride I did think that Mick would be happy with the part of the track I was in," Williams said, noting that the going was a bit better out wide.

It helped also that Oncidium Ruler was a class above his rivals, holding off late challengers in game fashion despite wanting to look around a bit once hitting the front.

"He is getting better with that though," Williams said, "and it was a good, determined win. He will gain some confidence from that."

A son of Strategic who has more of a look of his dam sire Zabeel, Oncidium Ruler is a full brother to four time winner Za Za Zoom out of Princess Regina whose third dam is star NZ mare Princess Mellay.