They came to see one horse, Black Caviar, and the Usain Bolt of horseracing did not let them down.
A vocal crowd of more than 25,000 at Randwick cheered the world’s fastest horse out onto the track.
They roared her home again to victory in the $1 million TJ Smith Stakes, and they rose to give her a standing ovation in the mounting yard.
Jockey Luke Nolen applauded the super mare too, dropping his reins to clap the champion as he trotted her back after keeping her unbeaten record intact with a 12th win from 12 starts.
Black Caviar herself seemed to lap up the attention, posing for photos long after flashing past the post.
Victorian filly Shamrocker may have won the biggest race of the day, the $1.5 million Australian Derby stayers’ classic.
But Black Caviar was always going to steal the show.
It’s not often that a horse can create an atmosphere like this.
It takes champions like Phar Lap, Tulloch, Vain, Kingston Town, Lonhro, Makybe Diva, Takeover Target and Gunsynd.
But Black Caviar looks destined to give them all a run for their money in the popularity stakes.
Special buses were laid on to bring punters to the big smoke from the country to see the four-year-old wonder mare.
Thousands waved flags in Black Caviar’s colours of salmon pink with black dots.
A couple of the owners’ kids wore the horse’s colours in silks.
Black Caviar lapel ribbons, photos and other merchandise was on sale, and one lucky punter won a $12,000 Black Caviar bet on the nose.
Even at the ludicrously low odds of $1.14 it was enough to turn a $1,680 profit.
They cheered her everywhere, from the public stands to the corporate marquees peopled by the likes of autumn carnival ambassador Jodi Gordon, David Jones ambassadors Megan Gale and Emma Freedman and Emirates’ special guest, English rugby star Danny Cipriani.
Black Caviar part-owner Neil Werrett was a bag of nerves.
“I’ve just got to remember to breathe,” he said.
“This race was named after a legendary trainer in Tommy Smith.
“We hope in the future we have a legendary horse.”
The future seems to have arrived.