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Rocket Commander scores emotional win

Tommy Berry has extracted the best from Rocket Commander on a heavy Randwick track to claim a narrow Group Three win in the Wenona Girl Quality.

While he was naturally thrilled with the win, Berry’s immediate thoughts after Saturday’s race for mares was for the racing community in Canberra where Rocket Commander is trained by Matt Dale.

Riharna Thomson, popular track rider and stable foreman for Keith Dryden and Scott Collings, died on Friday when her life support system was switched off after she suffered catastrophic injuries in a fall earlier in the week.

“I’m a bit emotional with this win,” Berry said.

“For everyone in Canberra, I just want you to all know that we’re all thinking of you down here.

“It’s a big family up there and it was very fitting that this horse won on the day.

“All my thoughts and prayers go out to Riharna Thomson’s family and friends and everyone at home on the track.

“I know how tough it is and we’re all here for you..”

Rocket Commander ($6) nosed out Hieroglyphics ($3.80 fav) with a final-stride lunge with Zestful ($5.50) another long neck third with runners coming to the grandstand side of the track for better ground.

Dale had another commitment in Canberra but was watching in his office as Rocket Commander backed up from her fifth in a Group Three race at Caulfield last week.

“I’ve got a wedding later this afternoon so I wasn’t able to get up there,” he said.

“She came home from Melbourne. We got her home on Sunday night and she hasn’t left one bit of feed since.

“Originally she was going to race next weekend and then go two weeks into it but the opportunity came up to run her on a heavy track this Saturday.

“It was an opportunity too good to refuse.”

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