The roar goes up as the horses enter the home straight.
It grows louder as a man by the crowd barrier leaps up and down, cheering his pick on, while another begins bouncing on top of a table a short distance away.
Both turn triumphantly to their friends, the latter pointing to a mate and pumping his fist in celebration as Handle the Truth crosses the line first and breaks a track record.
The buzz that surrounds big events was back in Canberra at Thoroughbred Park on Sunday, and this race was only a prelude to the big one.
Capital folk are getting a taste of something resembling normality this long weekend, with a carnival atmosphere in the ACT despite the threat of COVID-19 still looming large.
Macca Smith, sitting trackside at Black Opal Stakes Day, could not wait to get some Sunday afternoon sun with friends after a year or so in which event and after event has been cancelled.
"It's just good to get back to that social atmosphere and having a few drinks with your mates," he said.
The chance to collect a few dollars on the horses was just an added bonus, he said.
One punter who celebrated a win was Tarni Magyar, who was full of praise for the return to "sort of normal" times.
Her friend, Shae Kruska, added: "The atmosphere is amazing."
For those not among the thousands who filed through the gates for the races on Sunday, there is still plenty happening this long weekend as Canberra celebrates its 108th birthday on Monday.
The iconic Skywhale is set to grace the capital again as the Canberra Balloon Spectacular continues, while Skywhalepapa will make its inaugural trip into the air if the weather allows.
Their first "family flight" has been eagerly anticipated for some time, with a false start last month as westerly winds kept the duo tethered to the ground.
Cockington Green is hosting some activities to mark Canberra Day, including a charity fundraiser, while Bentspoke will have Skywhale creator Patricia Piccinini along in the afternoon.
Monday also represents the final opportunity of the year to see some of our national institutions lit up after dark as part of Enlighten Illuminations.
Some of these events are already booked out or need attendees to register ahead of time, so Events ACT is encouraging anyone heading to a Canberra Day celebration to check the Enlighten Festival website for any requirements.
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