Tommy Berry rides Firsthand to victory the November Handicap at Rosehill on Saturday. Picture: Simon Bullard/AAP
Tommy Berry rides Firsthand to victory the November Handicap at Rosehill on Saturday. Picture: Simon Bullard/AAP

Happy days: Berry’s special gift for Sharni

TOMMY Berry gave a fist pump as he crossed the line on Firsthand at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, not because it was a Group 1 but as a cheerio to his absent wife, Sharni, who part-owns the gelding.

Nisbet would have been trackside for Saturday's win only she was getting ready to attend a hen night for the soon-to-be wife of Brenton Avdulla.

"It's not every day you get to ride a winner for your wife, so it's very special,'' Berry said.

"Sharni got into the horse quite a while ago and he's been a bit of a frustrating bloke because he's taken a long time to mature.

"As you saw at his first two starts this preparation, he can still do a bit wrong. But we were always happy that he would relax enough to get 1400m and today he did.

"I watched him a lot (on TV) when I was in Hong Kong so it's great to be back here and riding him again.''

Firsthand, who fittingly won on debut for the pair on Valentine's Day in 2016, has come along since then, stamping himself as a future stakes winner.

"We felt last start that had he jumped he would have won, his run was outstanding, he really hit the line good,'' co-trainer Michael Hawkes said.

"We've had to work on his barrier manners and he flew the machines today. To be fair, Tommy probably could have led on him but it was all about trying to get him nice and relaxed and into rhythm.

"It was a very, very good ride. Tommy didn't panic and just waited for the right time. It makes a big difference when you've still got a lapful of horse - it's a lot easier to push a horse out of the way because momentum is going that good and you're not off balance.

"Once he was able to get out, he really hit the line well and was never going to get beat.''

Firsthand held a half-length winning margin over the Chris Waller-trained grey My Nordic Hero, who turned in a tremendous performance given he was first-up since contesting a 2510m race at Flemington.

Third home in the event was the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Snippets Land who is yet to win at Rosehill Gardens in 13 races after Saturday's honourable defeat.

Meanwhile, favourite Passage Of Time was being hailed the winner close to home but faded to finish fourth, beaten 3¼ lengths, just ahead of local mare Dagny.