Jockey Robbie Dolan was blinded by the sun as Mr Marathon Man flew down the track to land trainer Richard Litt's first Canberra Cup victory.
The Irish hoop had no idea he'd won the $250,000 listed race until the second-placed Tommy Berry yelled out "nice one, mate" from beside him.
Mr Marathon Man's triumph at Thoroughbred Park marked Dolan's first Canberra Cup win, alongside Warwick Farm trainer Litt.
The Great British gelding surged through the centre to battle out a close finish with Hawkes Racing's Dadoozdart, edging him out by a nose.
"It's unbelievable, I can't believe we actually won it. Richie gave me my first city winner, so definitely a momentous win for me and him," Dolan said.
"I was surprised, to be honest. I couldn't see - the sun was blinding me down the straight.
"I heard Tommy Berry rolling down my neck, so it was getting a little bit nervous. But when Tommy said, 'Well done, mate', I was like, 'Nice one'.
"It's great to win this one, it's a pretty great trophy, isn't it? Do you reckon you'd fit a schooner in there?"
It marked Mr Marathon Man's first win for Litt's stable, having started this preparation under a new trainer in October.
He was an unlikely winner for the Canberra Cup, given he'd only placed once since then and hadn't won since July 2019.
"I was happy with the way he ran, I thought we had a lot go right for us in the run," Dolan said.
"He was keen and running and was able to luck running into the race so I didn't have to be stuck for momentum. It was good."
The listed race's start was delayed by about eight minutes when the Keith Dryden-trained Balansa misbehaved before going into the gate and lost his bridle.
"We knew what was going on. Thankfully it was a 2000-metre race and all the horses are well-mannered," Dolan said.
"Lucky it wasn't a 1200m race where all the horses are fiery, jumpy and run sort of horses.
"It's one of those things that happens, fair play to those on the barriers and pony riders for getting that horse under control."
Local trainers won the first three races on Canberra Cup Day before a storm rolled through the capital, putting the meet on hold.
Todd Smart's Washington Towers ran clear by a length with 100m left in the benchmark 65 handicap (1000m), before the Matthew Dale-trained Propose To Me went from the back of the field to first to win over a mile.
Nick Olive claimed a quinella in the maiden handicap (1400m), with The Deepest Secret edging out stablemate Jack The Brumby by 0.87 lengths.
Jack The Brumby has now finished second six times in eight starts, while four-year-old The Deepest Secret finally stood in the winners' block after debuting in early 2019.
"Now even my other horses are beating him," Olive said.
"He's earned a lot of cheques running second all of the time. He's been a pretty hard horse to work out and I feel like I've worked him out now, I reckon a win is very close.
"We'll step up in distance now and he'll be very hard to beat next time.
"It's good to see The Deepest Secret break through and win. I think she'll go on with it now, she's a really nice horse."
After the delay, four-year-old Hezredhot continued the Canberra trainer's winning streak and claimed his first victory for Garry Kirkup's stable in the class 2 handicap (1200m).
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