Kitchwin Hills Stud manager and part-owner Mick Malone will never forget when he was told Vow And Declare had "the best action I've ever had anything to do with" by the person who broke him in.
On Tuesday, Malone's boutique Scone farm was celebrating a "ridiculous" Everest-Melbourne Cup double when Vow And Declare lifted late to win the race that stops a nation at Flemington.
Known as "Frank" when at Kitchwin Hills, Vow And Declare was seemingly destined for glory from a young age.
"He was a beautiful horse, he was so laid back," Malone said.
"I sent him to Shannon Betts at Emeran Park, she is a breaker and pre-trainer who does a lot of work for us. We send probably 20 to her every year.
"I remember Shannon rang me and said: 'Mick, I've never broke a horse like this in before. He has got the most unbelievable attitude, the best action I've ever had anything to do with'.
"I'll never forget it and amazingly she was on the money."
The win in the $8 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) came after Yes Yes Yes, which was also born and raised at Kitchwin Hills, took out the $14 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 19.
It capped a remarkable run for the farm, which also foaled $1 million Redzel Stakes winner Pierata.
"It's pretty amazing," Malone said.
"To win an Everest and a Melbourne Cup is ridiculous.
"But we've bred Golden Slipper and Magic Millions winners, we've been very fortunate. But to win the Melbourne Cup, it will never happen again.
"I'm just so proud of all the guys. It's terrific. We're so happy with it."
The victory was a rare one in the Melbourne Cup for Australian-bred horses and Malone was thrilled for his 1000-acre operation to play a key role.
"How tough was the win," he said. "Even 50 out, they were laying on him and he still put his head out to win.
"Barring everything else, for an Australian horse to win it - I'm just so happy in that regard. And then for it to be off our farm and be born and raised here, it's just really great.
"We are just a smaller farm. We foal around 100 mares each year, and a lot of those are retained.
"It's just a terrific result, not just for us but for the Hunter Valley, and we're very proud and very happy."
Vow And Declare, which was second in the Caulfield Cup, is by Declaration Of War out of Testa Rossa mare Geblitzt. Declaration Of War was stranding at nearby Coolmore Stud when Vow And Declare was conceived but he was born and raised at Kitchwin Hills.
Queensland owner-breeder Paul Lanskey syndicated the horse himself after it failed to meet a $60,000 reserve at the 2017 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale.
The four-year-old gelding has now won $5,722,690 in prizemoney from just 13 starts following his $4.65 million victory on Tuesday.
Celebrations were in full swing at KItchwin Hills, which was founded by Di and Ray Brown about 26 years ago.
"We have 28 staff and we always celebrate Melbourne Cup day because everyone has worked so hard into the breeding season and it has just started to quieten off a little," Malone said.
"We have a few beers and some prawns, and it's just a terrific day topped off by winning it, so it's amazing."
Malone said the recent wins had been a welcomed respite from the ongoing drought.
"That's the other rewarding part of it, it's been so dry, it's been horrendous," he said. "It's been the toughest two years of my life here and it just seems relentlessly dry. It never seems like it's going to rain. We had a little bit the other day but it wasn't worth talking about.
"It's been tough, and the staff, we never stop feeding and there's a lot of work in it, but days like these remind you why you're in it."