Andrew Breckon surely set a world first when the nine-year-old stepped boldly to the front to thank the Auckland Trotting Club for staging the $200,000 Canam Rowe Cup on Friday night. When most other children of his age would have been tucked up in bed, here he was holding stage in the harness racing hospitality room at Alexandra Park, making the acceptance speech for his absent parents.
With dad Ken and mum Karen in Brazil on business, it was left to Breckon and his brother George, 11, to fly the flag for family horse I Can Doosit.
And, after the Interdominion winner sealed Horse of the Year honours by mowing down Dr Hook and Raydon in the 3200 metre Group I feature, young master Breckon said all the right things.
"We've had a really good night," Breckon said on accepting the commemorative wine bottle, especially labelled with a photograph of the epic win.
"You'd better save that for your parents," the ATC host quipped. And "he wants to know where the cheque is".
The $120,000 winner's purse will be added to the other $278,741 the horse has earned this season, but more importantly to the memories the Breckon family has enjoyed this season.
For, as Ken Breckon said after I Can Doosit's Interdominion win last month, he treasured the family nights out at the races more than the spoils.
A blunt text shot off to their parents in a faraway land couldn't properly express the excitement of winning the Interdom-Rowe Cup double.
But trainer-driver Mark Purdon was excited enough for all of them.
Even 15 minutes after the race he was still buzzing over the enormity of the win, which he described as "sensational."
"When I asked him to go down the straight he just flew," said Purdon, who made up what seemed an impossible leeway over the last 200 metres.
Purdon, who had I Can Doosit six-back in the running line with the tailenders, said he'd hoped Springbank Richard would drag him into the race when he started a move at the 400m.
But the Oamaru horse went nowhere and Purdon was forced to hook out four and five wide round the bend to make his run.
"He's really taken a step up this year," said Purdon of the five-year-old son of.
The sole glitch on his CV was in Australia when, despite winning the Cochran Cup at Shepparton and a heat of the Australasian Trotting Championship at Ballarat, he was twice not comfortable going round the Melton track where the final was run. I Can Doosit goes into winter quarters with the fine record of 16 wins from 31 starts for $559,939.
Driver Ricky May, who finished fifth on favourite Stylish Monarch, said the horse was hindered during the running by the nearside number, which came adrift early in the race and was flapping against his legs.
Swedish-owned mare Annicka, who broke at the 300m, also had an excuse. Driver Anthony Butt reported she pulled a flat sulky tyre from the 1100m.