Danny's dad hasn't got his hand on the shoulder of his crying son, but instead on the vacant winner's stall 15 minutes after the Melbourne Cup has been run and won. He's fighting back tears, just after a horse trained by his law graduate son has fought back for Australia.
Last week Peter O'Brien heard a comparison between his son and Steve Smith, who walks to the crease and often carries the cricketing hopes of a nation by virtue of the willow in his hands.
Danny O'Brien has also strapped the helmet and pads on in recent years. His version has been a little different, standing on the steps outside various racing tribunals and Victorian courts fighting for a career and reputation over horse racing's sordid cobalt scandal. He's not Smith after sandpapergate, but maybe he's not far off.
"I saw someone compare him to Steve Smith having the weight of Australia on his shoulders," an emotional Peter said after the only true blue horse in the Melbourne Cup landed the $8 million race on Tuesday.
"Danny has been through so much and he's never complained to me or anyone else once. He's setting the record straight to what a good trainer he is and what a good person he is."
O'Brien and fellow Flemington trainer Mark Kavanagh were disqualified by racing officials and then ultimately exonerated by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. They were front page news in Melbourne. They pleaded their innocence from the start. It dragged on for years.
In 2018 O'Brien said the losses both he and Kavanagh racked up could amount to more than $10 million each. He's still standing, as is Kavanagh. Black Caviar's trainer Peter Moody is not. He was also banned over the cobalt affair and chose to close down his business.
O'Brien's reward came on Australian horse racing's most watched stage, standing next to his mother Helen in the mounting yard as Craig Williams dived along the inside to beat Frankie Dettori's Master Of Reality and Il Paradiso. Prince Of Arran was ultimately promoted to second on protest.
His winning horse was perfectly named, Vow And Declare.
"It was hard," O'Brien told the Herald of the cobalt affair. "Racing is a rollercoaster and everyone has setbacks and that was a time when we had a setback.
"[But] I never lost faith in the sport. You have to survive adversity if you're going to be successful in racing. We just kept working and I kept putting my head down. If you keep doing that you get a bit of luck.
"I don't think anyone survives in racing without some down times, you get used to disappointments. I was ultimately very confident that once it got to outside of the racing jurisdiction that we would be found completely innocent of any nefarious intentions."
Vow And Declare's part-owner Geoff Corrigan stuck thick. In his own words, he read "every inch" of the transcripts every trip O'Brien and Kavanagh made to a racing disciplinary hearing or outside jurisdiction. He reckons he knows the outcomes back to front.
"I always treat people on how you find them - and you judge their character," Corrigan said. "But I still think to this day he's a good bloke - he's an even better bloke now."
O'Brien never went away, and neither has cobalt. There are dozens of thoroughbred and standardbred trainers throughout Australia still with outstanding positives to the substance, in which the science remains uncertain. He wants racing administrators to tackle the problem head on.
If he was destined to get through the cobalt drama, then maybe he was destined to win a Melbourne Cup too. Another protege of Bart Cummings, O'Brien adopted a more European style of training with Vow And Declare this year rather than the master's 10,000 metres in the legs lead-up.
"He's a silent learner," Peter said. "He just watches and observes and processes it himself. He obviously was stressed and internalising everything [during the cobalt hearings]. He was too strong for his own good. His health was suffering because of what was going on.
"[But] he did it all by himself. He never complained or broke down in front of me. When I saw him after the race today he said, 'don't worry about the past, just enjoy this moment'."
- SMH/The Age