KITCHWIN Hills Stud is the toast of the Upper Hunter after its locally-born and raised galloper Vow And Declare won the 2019 Melbourne Cup in thrilling fashion on Tuesday.
The Danny O'Brien-trained stayer held off runner-up Master Of Reality, third-placegetter Prince Of Arran and Il Paradiso to claim the prestigious honours in the "race that stops the nation" at Flemington.
However, a protest from the stewards of the fourth runner, Il Paradiso, was later upheld, forcing Master Of Reality out of the major placings altogether.
That delay did little to subdue the celebrations at Kitchwin Hills, which is a partner of the Scone Race Club.
"We're very, very happy as you could imagine," stud manager Mick Malone said.
"It's so exciting for everyone.
"Congratulations to owner/breeder Paul Lanskey.
"But, a huge thank you must go to the staff here.
"They've worked tirelessly.
"I can't tell you what it means to them.
"We'll be having a few drinks tonight."
Vow And Declare's sensational victory caps off a brilliant period for the stud, located on Waverley Road between Gundy and Timor.
"Over the past few weeks, we've produced The Everest winner Yes Yes Yes and the Redzel Stakes conqueror Pierata," Malone said.
"Now, we've bred the 2019 Melbourne Cup champion.
"It's a vein of amazing results [for us] recently.
"To tell you the truth, it's been a perfect run.
"I thought Vow And Declare was a huge chance [today].
"He's won over the distance in Queensland, while there was a question mark over many others in the field.
"He's the toughest horse.
"Even when they crowded him on the finish line, he refused to surrender and hung in there.
"[Jockey] Craig Williams rode him to a tee.
"But, he was always going to run the 3200m trip.
"We're just over the moon.
"Seriously, you can't wipe the smiles off our faces."
Vow And Declare, which also picked up second in the Caulfield Cup, is by Declaration Of War out of Testa Rossa mare Geblitzt.
Declaration Of War was standing at nearby Coolmore Stud at Jerrys Plains when Vow And Declare was conceived but he was born and raised at Kitchwin Hills.