THE July Racing Carnival is back and living up to its motto as the springboard to fame after Mr O'ceirin's thrilling win in the feature event the Dougherty Constructions Grafton Cup.
Part owner of the Warrnambool-trained galloper Geoff McLaren was over the moon at winning the historic 100th running of the Cup, but added a big part of the thrill was it gave the horse an entry into this year's Caulfield Cup.
Mr McLaren said it was hard to describe the feeling of winning a race like the Grafton Cup, especially after bringing the horse all the way up here for the big event.
"To win it was just the best feeling. And to win it in such a thrilling way was special," he said.
He paid tribute to the horse's trainer, Ciaron Maher, for getting the horse up to Grafton and ready to win a race from a top-quality field, and jockey Blake Shinn for coming up with the perfect ride.
"We're (the syndicate) all from Melbourne and Western Victoria, so to get the horse here, prepare it and then win is very special."
The feelings of the owners were echoed by Clarence River Jockey Club executive officer Michael Beattie.
"We're well and truly back," Mr Beattie said.
"We said right at the start of the carnival that we were going back to the future with this carnival. We did nothing special this time around, just identified the things Grafton did well in the past and made sure they happened this time."
He said it was wonderful the winner of the Cup has the option of going on to compete at the highest level of racing.
"It has the chance to go on and become another Kensei," he said.