Coast owners thrilled as Vow and Declare wins Melbourne Cup
Vow and Declare has won the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
The richest running of the race that stops the nation has handed the Sunshine Coast and Gympie connections of the horse, as well as jockey Craig Williams and trainer Danny O'Brien, a record $4.4 million payday.
A WHIRLWIND journey has earned a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some local horse owners.
Noosa and Gympie connections will be cheering loudly trackside at Flemington as their charge Vow and Declare jumps from the barriers in a stellar field of 24 in the race that stops a nation.
Noosa's Paul Lanskey and his partner Helga Hueston are among the syndicate of part-owners in the four-year-old gelding, which is fourth favourite in the Melbourne Cup.
Not only is Lanskey a part-owner, but a breeder who had a hand in deciding Vow and Declare's lineage.
He owned the gelding's dam, Geblitzt, and was part of the process which decided Declaration Of War (USA) as the sire.
Gympie State High School principal, and Lanskey's nephew, Anthony, is also among the owners along with his two sons Lachlan and Ben.
Gympie's deputy mayor Bob Leitch is in the mix too.
Anthony, one of five first-time owners in the horse, said it had been a surreal and unexpected journey to the coveted Cup.
"We're very excited, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity really," he said.
"He didn't run a place in his first couple of runs.
"It wasn't until he won on Oaks Day this time last year that we thought, 'hang on, we might have something good on our hands here'."
While it was a fiercely strong field, he was hopeful Vow and Declare's demeanour and style could get the job done.
"He's a very quiet animal and the people that handle him love him and he's a really nice horse," he said.
"He is a pretty versatile character and is a relaxed horse.
"So, hopefully he will jump and settle somewhere in the first half of the field and then bide his time and when he gets to the 500-600m mark that's when he'll start moving home.
"We know he can stay so we just hope he gets a clear run without any interference.
"He got a bit of buffeting in the Caulfield Cup, in which he lost a little bit of momentum, but we just hope he gets a clear run."
Noosa's Lanskey originally tried to sell Vow and Declare at the 2017 Inglis Classic Sale but when bidding fell $15,000 short of his $60,000 reserve, he took him home and convinced family and friends to come on board as owners.