TEARS and beers flowed freely as Pride Of Indies ended a run of outs for Wagga trainers when he claimed the Wagga Gold Cup in 1985.
The David Heywood-trained four-year-old became the first Wagga prepared horse to win the cup since Gipsy Creek won the cup for trainer Jack George in 1959.
Only three Southern District Racing Association trainers have won the cup since with Don Ross preparing Sorden Lad in 1987, Bob Tyack producing an emotional win with Mill Court in 1990, while Chance Affair was the last locally trained runner to win the cup for David Middleton in 1998.
In a real family affair Pride of Indies was owned by Heywood's sister Bernadette and her husband Russell Milne.
Milne, the publican at the Royal Hotel in Grong Grong, opened the taps later that night to celebrate, with free beer flowing for three hours after winning the feature race then worth $60,500.
With a mounting yard filled with the Milnes' friend there was hardly any space for the connections to make their forward to receive the cup.
"There was an enormous crowd in the mounting yard after it, there were people everywhere and it was just a great day," Heywood said.
"That day in the mounting yard you could not move for the people in there and it was just an unbelievable day.
"It was an emotional day but its a big thing to win your home Wagga Cup."
After going close to winning the cup with Shadameneo in 1982 and 1985 finally winning the cup with Pride Of Indies made it even more special.
After being well beaten by Allez Bijou in the previous running of the cup, Heywood thought Shademeno was home in the 1982 edition before Sean's Pride flew down the outside to win.
"It's a hard race to win," Heywood said.
"I ran second twice with Shadameneo and third with Pride Of Indies to Poachinellar in 1986 so we had been very close but when he won it, it was just fantastic.
"We were so close but so far away but when Pride won it everyone got emotional."
On the eve of the race there were doubts whether jockey Rod Quinn would be able to take the ride after falling ill in the lead up to the carnival.
He was unable to fulfil his commitments on Town Plate Day, but was confident he would be able to ride on cup day.
After having no ill effects from a ride on Habidash in the opening race of the day, Quinn declared he was fit and stand-by jockey Garry Buchanan left to watch the race on the sidelines.
"Rod came up a couple of days before and we were out playing tennis and having a great time and the next thing he went down sick," Heywood said.
"We didn't know what was wrong with him and he didn't know himself but he was diagnosed with glandular fever when he got back home to Sydney so he did have hell of a job to ride let alone win on him."
In a strong cup field Quinn was able to position Pride Of Indies midfield from barrier nine with the leaders setting a fast tempo before bursting clear of Godarchi with 200 metres to run.
Godarchi's rider Mel Schumacher told The Daily Advertiser he thought his mount was home when he led just after entering the straight before Pride Of Indies "went past me as though mine was standing still."
Pride Of Indies defeated Godarchi by ¾ length with Loyal And True a further head away.
With two wins in Sydney under his belt before winning on the first Friday in May, Pride of Indies continued his winning form picking up another six wins in Sydney throughout his career.
He also had two more attempts at cup glory, with his best effort the third behind Poachinellar as he searched for back-to-back wins while he also finished second in an Albury Cup and won the Gundagai Cup.
But his brilliant career almost never happened at all with the son of Northern Spring nearly dying as a weanling after a suspected bout of colic.
"He never picked up for about two years and early in his career he used to race very light and you couldn't give him any long preparations, but the older he got the tougher he got," Heywood said.