Seven years after his last attempt at group one glory, Tom Gilligan couldn't believe his luck at Riverina Paceway on Friday.
Picking up the drive on Rocky Creed during the week, with regular reinsman James McPherson ineligible, Gilligan brought up the biggest win in his career in the Regional Championships final.
The 30-year-old had only driven in two group one races previously.
His best effort in a group one was a 10th with Mary Mon in the 2013 Victoria Oaks, however when things panned out perfectly with the $41 chance Gilligan couldn't believe his luck.
"The way the favourite (Whereyabinboppin) had been going in the heats, it was going super, but the way the first lap was run I thought we were in a pretty good position here," Gilligan said.
"It was a fairly run race and turning home I can't really remember.
"I was just screaming."
Gilligan drove Rocky Creed to a sixth in his first start two years ago but hadn't been put on by trainer Chris McPherson since.
However he does shoe the horse, and is engaged to McPherson's niece, fellow trainer Brooke McPherson, so the connection remained.
He was thrilled to deliver success for the McPherson family.
"It's absolutely unreal," Gilligan said.
"I can't believe it.
"Just to it for the family too - Chris, James and Scott put in a great effort and it's their first group one and my first win in a group one.
"It is absolutely out of control."
Rocky Creed has now won four of his last six starts to go with two second placings.
He put in a tough effort to win his heat a fortnight earlier but after drawing barrier 11, Gilligan didn't come into the race with too many expectations.
However as the ran unfolded things soon changed.
"Blake (Jones) with Western Sonador was on my back and I just didn't want to go for home too early and it got me," Gilligan said.
"But when I looked back and he was under the stick, the horse inside me (We Salute You) went super and fought all the way up the straight but it's just unreal."
Whereyabinboppin ($1.10 fav) finished fifth after racing untractably without cover beaten 26.1 metres.
While leader Brooklyns Best ($14) suffered from the thumps as she dropped out to finish 123.6 metres off Rocky Creed.
The son of Pet Rock is now headed for a spell before a shot at the group one Vicbred Super Series.
His record now starts at eight wins and nine placings from 30 starts.
Gilligan believes the four-year-old is getting better with age.
"When he started as a two-year-old you just knew he was going to click," he said.
"He went the Bathurst, done that (winning the Honouree Stakes) and has just got better and better."