The 170th anniversary race was always going to be historic, but everyone needed to check the history books as it was Glory Days for the Waverley contingent at the Listed Cambridge Thoroughbred Lodge Wanganui Cup on Saturday.
The 6-year-old Waverley mare could well have completed a very unique double in local horse racing as Glory Days followed up her Waverley Cup victory with a Wanganui Cup double just two weeks later at the Christmas at the Races at Wanganui Racecourse.
Favourite in the 13 horse field with Whanganui's Lisa Allpress on her back, Glory Days timed her run perfectly after the final turn in a bunched field to power through on the outside and claim the cup by a length and a quarter from early leader Hunta Pence (Danielle Hirini) and Sampson (Charlotte O'Beirne).
It was Hunta Pence who was at the front for the first canter past the finishing post in the 2040m feature, followed by Sampson and Australian horse Highlad (Wiremu Pinn).
Heading around the back stretch and it was Rock On (Robert Hannam) who decided it was time to spread the field out and powered to the front, taking a three length lead and asking the question of the pursuers.
Coming to the final turn, the field had spread out and despite a charge by Beefeater (Dylan Turner) and Whanganui hopeful She's Poppy (Shaun McKay), it was Glory Days who had picked the perfect line and powered away to get the victory.
It seemed half of Waverley had congregated in the bird cage in front of the grandstand to congratulate trainer Bill Thurlow on his second cup win in less than 14 days.
The Waverley farmer like many of the experts were struggling to recall if this is the first Waverley-Wanganui Cup double, given the South Taranaki race often changes dates.
"I'm not into statistics," Thurlow said, but did confirm winning the Wanganui Cup had been on the bucket list.
"It has, to be fair."
Remembering the battle to get to the front in Waverley, Thurlow and Allpress got their heads together and decided before the race that the outside was the way to go.
"I told [Allpress], 'we're going to take luck out of the equation'. Get into clear air and she did it perfectly."
With two cup wins in as many weeks, Thurlow said they would sit down over the week and decide whether to take a punt on entering the City of Auckland Cup.
"It's a matter of seeing where we end up."
The victory by Allpress continued a dramatic day in the race for the National Jockey's Premiership.
Allpress had began Saturday with a one victory lead over Johnathan Parkes, who then won twice before the Cup race, before ultimately reclaiming the lead from Allpress again after he took Skyphyta to win the eighth and final race of the day.
"Whatever will be, will be," said Allpress of their rivalry for the crown.
"Johnathan's an amazing rider and gives any horse an opportunity."
Allpress based her strategy on just keeping pace with the two best horses in the field – Beefeater and She's Poppy – and put her experiences from earlier races at Wanganui to good use, given running the rail had been unsuccessful for her.
"I always knew, I've been caught on the outside a few times today.
"Just tacked onto She's Poppy and came through."
Engulfed in handshakes from the Waverley crowd after the race were co-owners Grant Thurlow, brother of Bill, and Brent McAree.
"It's a pretty good effort, Lisa was pretty impressed with it," said Thurlow.
"[The adrenaline] was pumping pretty good, mate.
"Going the distance in Waverley and here, very impressive."
McAree told a story about when Bill Thurlow had a couple of young horses he was sending on to other hands, but then decided to keep Glory Days.
He appreciated it was a true blue Waverley victory, given Allpress did much of her apprentice work at the Waverley Racecourse.
"It's the team, they do the work, and we pay the bills," said McAree.
"The Waverley Cup was very emotional for us all, so to go on and win this is fantastic. It's a good horse."
Also pleased with their afternoon will be the Wanganui Jockey Club, given rainfall which the Metservice predicted would land at around 4pm – a minute after the Cup race jumped – stayed away for another couple of hours.
While security had been tightened due to the prospect of excessive drinking, with the first Saturday of December known as 'National Crate Day', behaviour within the race track was pretty good.
On course betting at the event was $94,266.27 for the local races plus a further $25,593.30 for off-course races.
Total TAB turnover on the Wanganui Races was $1,182,240.42.