It's been a long time between drinks for Vow And Declare but they've tasted sweet, having won the Melbourne Cup in 2019 and now winning the Zipping Classic over three years later.
The seven-year-old had shown glimpses of being back near his best this time in, with good runs in both the Bart Cummings and Caulfield Cup before a sound effort when tenth in this year's Melbourne Cup, beaten 8.7 lengths by Gold Trip.
Back to weight-for-age his staying prowess shone through, with Persan setting a strong tempo in the lead, putting in an improved run to hang onto third behind race favourite Luncies who was unable to reel in the winner late.
"Persan set a good gallop which is what we wanted and he was always in control of the position he wanted to be in and early in the straight, he got going and stayed on and it was pretty painless," trainer Danny O'Brien said.
A long break has done wonders for Vow And Declare, who still has more racing in him.
"He's had the better part of 18 months off leading up to this spring, he's never been in better shape hence the reason he's here on Zipping Classic day… We'd like to think he's got a good season ahead of him next year as well," O'Brien said.
Despite never having ridden the horse, jockey John Allen knows Vow And Declare well, not just because of his Melbourne Cup win.
"I actually beat him in the Queensland Derby on Mr Quickie and he actually protested against me but were able to hold on and he went on and won the Melbourne Cup the following year," Allen said.
"He's a gentleman horse to ride and he gave me a great ride today."