Jockey Craig Williams celebrates after riding Vow And Declare to victory in race 7, the Lexus Melbourne Cup, during Melbourne Cup Day, at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Tuesday, November 5, 2019. (AAP Image/Scott Barbour) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Jockey Craig Williams celebrates after riding Vow And Declare to victory in race 7, the Lexus Melbourne Cup, during Melbourne Cup Day, at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Tuesday, November 5, 2019. (AAP Image/Scott Barbour) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Gympie Turf Club erupts as Vow And Declare crosses the post

HORSE RACING: Pandemonium erupted at the Gympie Turf Club as the locally owned Vow And Declare raced home to victory in the Melbourne Cup Tuesday.

Deafening cheers blocked out the noise of the race as the chestnut gelding passed the post.

Two of the 13 owners of the chestnut gelding are Gympie State High School principal Anthony Lanskey and Gympie Regional Council deputy mayor and Gympie High teacher Bob Leitch who were at Flemington yesterday.

Jockey Craig Williams rides Vow And Declare to victory in race 7, the Lexus Melbourne Cup, during Melbourne Cup the Lexus Melbourne Day, at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
Jockey Craig Williams rides Vow And Declare to victory in race 7, the Lexus Melbourne Cup, during Melbourne Cup the Lexus Melbourne Day, at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Tuesday, November 5, 2019.

“It was amazing, I had a couple tears,” Leitch said after the race.

“There was an explosion of emotion, cheering and jumping around. It has been a great experience.”

Vow And Declare had a perfect start out of barrier 21 and despite dropping back as he came to the straight, Leitch said he knew he could do it.

“He has plenty of determination, he just keeps coming back,” he said.

“This has topped off the week for us. We will be riding this high for a while now with plenty of celebrations.”

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Lanskey was more composed as his boys tried to come to grips with how fortunate they had been to buy into a Melbourne Cup winner with their first foray into ownership.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in. It’s the dream of a lifetime,” he said. “I spoke about how our family has been involved in racing for years. Granddad’s brother Freddy was a trainer in Cairns and was training into his 90s.

“For the family, this is just incredible to have a horse that Paul bred. I am unbelievably proud and I’m sharing it with my boys.”

Jockey Craig Williams (right) rides Vow And Declare to victory in race 7, the Lexus Melbourne Cup, during Melbourne Cup Day, at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
Jockey Craig Williams (right) rides Vow And Declare to victory in race 7, the Lexus Melbourne Cup, during Melbourne Cup Day, at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Tuesday, November 5, 2019.

The win was also the first Cup triumph for champion jockey Craig Williams.

“He is bred in Australia, he is owned by Australians, he is ridden (Craig Williams) and trained by Australians, I think he is the only one in the race who can say that,” trainer Danny O’Brien said before the race.

Williams said all credit deserved to go to O’Brien.

“I was lucky enough to sit on Vow And Declare. A credit to Danny O’Brien. It was a privilege to ride him today. We had a difficult barrier draw. The instructions, we trusted him. We know what we can do.”

Leitch said Vow And Declare would be rested over Christmas and he and Lanskey would speak to major shareholder former NSW Labor politician Geoff Corrigan about bringing the Cup to Gympie.