A syndicate of 'mates' were quietly confident as Downhearted pounded down the track in the last, most iconic race of the day at the Katherine Cup.
Over the weekend, hundreds of people gathered for Katherine's biggest social event of the year, all frocked up and ready to place a bet.
As punters sweltered through the day's races, Josh McShanag and his nine friends who collectively own Downhearted, a seven year old gelding bought from Victoria, waited for their race in anticipation.
Downhearted had lost to Grand Prospect mere weeks ago at Ladies Day in Darwin.
But had come close to a win a few times at the recent Darwin Carnival.
"We knew [Downhearted] was competing against some good talent," Mr McShanag said.
"We were still quietly confident."
As the pack neared the finish line, Downhearted was so far ahead, a win was almost obvious.
It was his first claim to victory since arriving in the Northern Territory.
Bought as a successful racer in Victoria, it was a case of patience as a win was inevitable, Mr McShanag said.
President of the Katherine Turf Club, Paul Mullins said while Downhearted was tipped to win, track side whispers had Grand Prospect as the favourite.
"The Katherine Cup was a competitive race, and it was really well run," Mr Mullins said.
"It was good to see Downhearted win, although I think a few people were a bit surprised."
Local favourite, Kifaah, owned by Andrew Harvey from Power Projects had many punters placing bets, Mr Mullins said.
Mr Mullins took over role as president this year from the outgoing Bob Woodhouse.
Mr Mullins said race numbers were up on last year, making for a successful year.
"Everything came up a picture for the day," he said.
Downhearted will be racing in Adelaide next week, and will be joining the Northern Territory circuit again next year before heading back to Katherine to defend his title.
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