Damian Lane celebrates winning aboard Aristia (Image: Racing Photos)
It's hard to know who Thursday's Kennedy Oaks provided the bigger watershed moment for.
The $1 million Group 1 was won by Lonhro filly Aristia, who is trained by Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra and is raced by First Light Racing.
It was the first elite-level success for First Light and the first in a significant sphere for the cousins, who train in partnership at Flemington.
Winning jockey Damian Lane, who has quickly risen to become one of Australia's leading riders, also described it as his greatest moment in racing.
That was mainly due to it being for Ellerton and Zahra, who have officially been a training team for just over nine years, but have been light on for genuine Group 1 chances of late.
Their biggest success came in the 2010 Golden Slipper with Crystal Lily, but their most recent had been with Response in the Sangster Stakes in April 2011.
Other highlight wins have also been over sprint trips and Zahra said winning a 2500-metre Oaks, a victory that was played out in front of 61,355 fans, was particularly special.
"To get a staying Group 1 under our belts is more important than anything, just to prove that we can train the stayers if we get the right horses," he said. "For our CV, this is really important.
"We've been together with First Light a long while and everything's gone up and down and it's been a bit of a lean patch for all of us, but I'm just rapt for those guys. They put a lot of money and a lot of effort.
"It's a dream for all of that we could do it together. They come to us with a couple of horses and they've taken off and won the Group 1."
The trainers' joy was only matched by the 36 owners who form the syndicates who race Aristia with First Light Racing, the syndication company set up by Tim Wilson and Sam Kilkenny.
"We're just so grateful, Mat and Simon have been our foundation trainers and we've been with them for seven years and we're just so blessed," Wilson said.
"They've done an incredible job with the filly, we knew coming into the race that she'd had the perfect preparation, Mat and Simon hadn't missed a trick with her the whole way through, and they've got the job done."
Aristia, the solid $5.50 third elect off the back of a strong win in last Saturday's G2 Wakeful Stakes, proved too good for her rivals in a race significant for the below-part performances of two Darren Weir-trained fillies.
Thousand Guineas winner Amphitrite was well-supported to start the $3 favourite, but was virtually pulled up by Craig Williams and failed to beat a runner home, while one-time hot favourite Verry Elleegant, who started at $5, again raced ungenerously and laboured into seventh spot.
Leader Greysful Glamour ($17) boxed on to hold down second placing, three-quarters of a length from Aristia, with Miner's Miss ($101) giving Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne and her father Paddy a huge thrill the same distance away third.
Lane said the victory was the most significant of his 14 Group 1 wins.
"This is easily my biggest thrill in racing … just the elation as I went over the line," Lane said.
"I love Matty and Simon, they've been such a big part of not only my career but my life. When I moved to Melbourne I lived in Matty's home for the first six or seven months and he's always treated me like a family member.
"I wouldn't be where I am today without them. He always took care of me and I always appreciated that."