THERE were a lot of happy and rich punters in the Whitsundays this week.
Residents who backed Prince of Penzance, a horse that has a Whitsunday connection as it's part-owned by resident Joe Dalton, forced the Reef Gateway Hotel to run out of money at the TAB.
The hotel is Mr Dalton's neighbourhood watering hole and was packed with his friends who betted on the horse.
The Cannonvalley-based part-owner described the rank outsider's win as a "fairytale".
Mr Dalton owns shares in the Melbourne Cup winner with his brothers Jonathon and Bruce, among several other syndicates and was happy to share the historic moment, as Prince of Penzance became the first $100-1 shot to win the cup in more than 70 years and jockey Michelle Payne wrote her name into the records as the iconic race's first winning female jockey.
The Dalton Concrete Constructions owner, who described the brothers' share in the horse as "healthy", said he couldn't believe his luck, having gone into Tuesday's race at Flemington merely hoping for a top-10 finish.
"It was kind of disbelief at first then it sunk in with all the screaming and yelling," he said.
"I wasn't really sure coming into the straight but then I saw him and thought 'we've got this'.
"I thought coming around the home turn he was going to get into the top-10 but it was a brilliant ride by Michelle Payne and I thought we might go a bit better than this.
"Then 400m out I thought we had it."
Dalton said his brothers celebrated with the "four or five" other groups of owners at Flemington's committee room before heading into South Melbourne for post-cup celebrations.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.