The Whanganui racing fraternity has again bathed in the glory of beating their Aussie neighbours after Whanganui thoroughbred Tallyho Twinkletoe smashed his rivals in the Australian Grand National Hurdle at Sandown on Sunday.
While Ballarat-based Australian trainer Patrick Payne will go down in history as the trainer, the horse was sent to him just days earlier by Whanganui educator Kevin "Dummy" Myers on behalf of Whanganui owners Jo Rathbone, Simon Harrison and Dave Macnab.
Payne is fast becoming a master trainer of jumpers off the back of winning horses sent from New Zealand by Myers, so he quite rightly prefers to deflect all the credit the Whanganui conditioner, and in this instance co-owner Rathbone as well.
In between arriving in Melbourne and racing at Sandown on Sunday, Tallyho Twinkletoe had to show his ability over jumps in front of Racing Victoria stewards.
"He only arrived at my place at 11pm on Wednesday night and he was at Ballarat the following morning at seven o'clock to qualify," Payne said.
"So I'm only the fake trainer.
"All thanks to the 'Dummy' Myers team back in New Zealand and a special thanks to Jo Rathbone who is close to this horse.
"She has spent a lot of time with him at the beach."
But it took much more than beach work for Rathbone to bring the quality galloper back to full fitness following his 2015 Grand National Hurdle win at Riccarton.
"We just had tendon problems with him, two and half years off racing I think," Rathbone told Des Coppins on Trackside Radio after Sunday's win.
"We had niggling problems that just kept resurfacing so it took a bit of time and eventually got him back to the races, but then had issues again last year. Hopefully, touch wood he can remain sound this time."
On her Facebook page Rathbone gave thanks to others involved in the comeback.
"Thanks to Egmont Wanganui hunt for helping us prepare Tallyho Twinkletoe for his amazing win in the Australian Grand National hurdle today. Thanks to Tina (Chambers) and Funky Monkeys Photography for your great photos while Tallyho was out on the hunt field.
"Thanks also to Mathew Gillies we wouldn't have made it without you, it's a shame you couldn't have been on board. Great ride Aaron Kuru, thrown in last minute and you didn't miss a beat. Thanks to Patrick Payne for looking after my champ."
Kuru picked up the ride after Gillies was involved in a race fall in New Zealand on Saturday and was stood down on medical grounds.
Rathbone, a former topline jumps jockey herself attached mainly to the Myers stable during a career that produced well in excess of 100 wins over fences, was simply blown away by the messages of congratulations levelled her way.
"Definitely this is the biggest highlight of my career and I was totally blown away by all the calls and messages I got after the win."
Rathbone opted not to go to Sandown and watch her champ live preferring to watch the race on television with fellow co-owner Dave Macnab who is now in his 90s.
"It meant a lot to me. We watched the New Zealand national together and I wanted to see it again with him. If he (Tallyho Twinkletoe) makes it to the next one (Australian Steeplechase) I'll definitely go over."
Payne thought Myers gave a strong lead to Tallyho Twinkletoe's ability when he phoned to say he was sending the jumper for both Sunday's race and the Grand National Steeplechase at Ballarat on August 25.
"Sometimes IRT (International Racehorse Transport) ring up and say there's a horse of Dummy Myers' waiting to be picked up," Payne said.
"Other times he'll ring up and say I've got this thing coming over on this day, but he named this horse and said he was coming over for the two Nationals.
"That was probably a pretty good barometer for this race, but I must admit I'm a little bit surprised as I thought he jumped the steeples better the other day than the hurdles and I thought he'd be better for next time.
"He's proven me wrong which he's allowed to do."