Darwin-trained thoroughbred Saccharo has come from behind to win the 140th Birdsville Cup.
Dubbed the ‘Melbourne Cup of the Outback’, the 1600-metre race on a red-dirt track is an annual tradition of the rural Queensland town of Birdsville.
Saturday evening’s cup win was a first for Saccharo jockey Robert Faehr and trainer Phillip Cole, who took home a $42,000 prize purse.
“I was overwhelmed heading through the straight when I skipped to the front,” Faehr said. “I had tears in my eyes because I knew I had it.
“I’ve been to Birdsville five or six times and never won.”
Rain washed out Friday’s opening day of the Birdsville Races, but the sun shone through on Saturday as more than 3000 punters flooded the racetrack.
“It’s been a tough few days but the effort has been well worth it to now,” Birdsville Race Club vice president Gary Brook said.
“The weather gods have put on a show today and we’re thrilled with the turnout.”
Starting as a humble bush meet in 1882, the Birdsville Races have evolved over more than a century to become a bucket-list experience for travellers and racing enthusiasts.
The races will continue on Sunday, with the carnival’s postponed Friday six-race program running from noon.