DOUBLE Cop scorched around the Murrumbidgee Turf Club to win his second Wagga Gold Cup with Ray Selkrig aboard in 1978, but his association with the Melbourne Cup winning jockey almost never happened.
The seven-year-old set a new track of 2:01.00 in winning his second Cup in on a rare Thursday edition of the Wagga Gold Cup two years after he first triumphed for Selkrig and trainer Bert Honeychurch.
A faster cup wasn't run for 13 years when Jim Cassidy won aboard Greenback in 1991.
Eight horses have won the cup twice, but Double Cop was only the second horse to win it in non-consecutive years and the first since Yulandra won in 1920 and 1924 - Allez Bijou became the third when he triumphed in 1981 and 1984.
Selkrig can't split the two victories but the win in 1976 almost didn't happen until Honeychurch put in a last minute call.
"I decided not to come up as I didn't have a good ride so I thought there was no real use in going up for a bad ride," Selkrig said.
"I went out one day and my wife Pat said Bert Honeychurch wants to give you a ride in the cup and I just said 'take it' and I rang Bert straight up and from that day on we've been great mates."
Selkrig rates Honeychurch as the best trainer to come from the region and the two remain in contact with Honeychurch, who is in a nursing home in Berrima.
When Double Cop triumphed in track record time Selkrig was confident he had enough to win.
Under a hand and heels ride the seven-year-old got to the line a half head in front of Nimmity Lad who was ridden by Garry Buchannan.
Buchannan also finished second behind Double Cop two years earlier with Bronco Boy and thought his time to win the rich Wagga race had come before Selkrig rode past him.
"When he got the better of Carl's Gift, I thought he had enough in hand to win but Double Cop got to us just before the post," Buchanan told The Daily Advertiser in 1978.
Selkrig recalls beating Buchannan on both occasions and joked the leading Southern District Racing Association hoop "didn't like the sight of me."
"We were good mates but he was always going crook that I kept beating him," Selkrig said.
Buchannan went on to claim his elusive win with Madame Monet in 1983, who was the first mare to win the cup since Chanel in 1969.
Selkrig could have had a third win in the race after he was offered the ride on the Chris Honeychurch-trained Allez Bijou in 1981, but declined the ride due to commitments at Hawkesbury.
"Chris asked my to ride his horse but I was riding for Hyperion Thoroughbreds and I rode 98 winners for them and I just couldn't leave them and go away to ride something else," Selkrig said.
"I had five rides for them at Hawkesbury that day."
Despite missing out on the cup, Selkrig did have success during the carnival winning the Town Plate with Cabramatta Jack.
Selkrig won three Town Plates his first was in 1954 aboard Taranta Ray and his last 27 years later with Cabramatta Jack, a year before he retired from the sport.
In a prestigious career which including numerous group ones Selkrig is in elite company as one of only two jockeys to notch a rare treble of derbies winning the AJC Derby, the Victorian Derby and the Queensland Derby with Royal Sovereign in 1964.
George Moore is the only other jockey to accomplish the feat with the champion Tulloch in 1957 while Silver Sharpe also won all three derbies, but for different riders.
Despite being in such elite company winning the Melbourne Cup aboard Lord Fury in 1961 remains at the top of Selkrig's list and the 84-year-old was awarded life membership to the Australian Turf Club in March.
Selkrig will return to Wagga for this year's Wagga Gold Cup Carnival as a guest of the Murrumbidgee Turf Club and will be track side for both Town Plate and the Wagga Cold Cup days.