MAT Rue is not a driver who often salutes, but in the final metres of Friday night's Oberon Cup he could not help but raise his whip in the air as Fouroeight sprinted to victory.
Rue had a massive smile on his face and he was not the only one, with a huge group of Fouroeight fans clapping and cheering as the $1.65 favourite took out the 2,260 metres feature.
Rue's eight-year-old came from last to take the win in a run the Bathurst trainer-driver rated as one of the best in his gelding's career.
"The owners were here tonight and few of the LiveBetter community, they come down and see him sometimes and they love him. They were all roaring and screaming, so I thought I'd better give them a bit of a hello," he said of his salute.
"He went super, it was one of his better wins here. His sectionals late in that race were pretty fast and for him to come from last and make ground on them was a great effort."
While Rue had driven in five previous editions of the Oberon and figured in the placings on three occasions, Friday night's edition of the annual feature was the first time he'd entered members of his own stable.
He took the drive with Fouroeight - the Bathurst Paceway's 1,730m track record holder - while Tom Pay was given the job on eventual fifth-placed Misterfreeze ($26).
Having drawn wide on the outside line in the six-horse field, Rue settled Fouroeight at the rear. It was Kanena Provlima who initially led after going from barrier one, but he was soon crossed by the Anthony Frisby driven Aphorism.
After finding the front with Aphorism, Frisby backed the pace off and the field ran in single file behind him.
As the bell for the final lap sounded, Fouroeight had some 25 metres to make up on the leader and with 400m to go the favourite was still in last spot.
But Fouroeight was making up ground. He peeled four-wide through the final bend and on balancing at the top of the straight, unleashed the sort of sprint that has earned him a host of fans.
Fouroeight hit the front with some 70m to go, taking out the Oberon Cup by 5m over Aphorism ($7), with Maximus Red ($23) a further 5.8m back in third. Rue's winner rated 1:57.2.
"I'll always back his speed, as long as I'm within three lengths of them at the 400 I'll always be pretty confident as long as I don't get too wide," Rue said.
"I had him chasing a bit around the bend which surprised me, usually he's up and racing and over the top of them.
"We've changed his drive just a little bit lately to make him settle a bit more in the run and when I asked him to go, he just went like mad.
"It was a little bit before straightening I thought I had it. Anthony was a little bit ahead of me, but when he straightens up off the last turn here he goes like crazy and I thought he'd tackle them."
Fouroeight's win not only delivered Rue his maiden Oberon Cup success, it also saw the gelding join Smithstars Lexus as the most successful runner in the history of the Bathurst Paceway.
HIs wins at the track have also included the Group 3 Gold Chalice Final in 2016, the Don and Freda Callan Memorial, a Country Series heat and a Breeders Challenge heat.
Rue thanked all those who have helped make Fouroeight - who's earnings now stand at $250,375 from his 86 career runs - a success story for his stable.
"It's great to be equal with Smithstars Lexus with 17 wins here, it's an amazing feat really. I know quite often here he's in small fields, but his first win here was as a three-year-old and he's now eight," he said.
"His success has spanned over five years, so a big thank you to everyone at home - Tom, Aaron, Mel, everyone. A lot of hard work goes into this horse, he's not a five minute job.
"So it's a big thrill to win that race, any race is a thrill to win, but to win a feature race here at Bathurst is always extra special."