MOST people mark Melbourne Cup Day with a punt.
But in Ron Croxon’s eyes, he was a winner without even having a flutter.
The ornamental hand engraver was selected to engrave the 2017 Melbourne Cup, and watched from his hometown of Tamworth as three days’ labour was handed over to the winning Rekindling camp on Tuesday afternoon.
“It was strange,” Mr Croxon said of watching the Cup on national television.
“I had to work (on the day). I usually stop to just watch the race, but I watched the presentation too, and had all my kids messaging me.
“To be part of something as big as the Melbourne Cup in my own small way was strange.”
Mr Croxon, who turned his hand from building to engraving after a chance meeting with an antique firearms collector in Darwin, landed the coveted Melbourne Cup gig last year.
ABC Bullion, who was appointed to manufacture the Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy for 2016 and onwards, phoned him out of the blue to ask for a sample of his engraving work.
Mr Croxon was sent up a replica of the Cup and was told to engrave it how he believed it should be done.
Using a technique that involves stippling the lettering, the engraving had a frosted finish.
MEGA GALLERY: 2017 Melbourne Cup Day in Tamworth
“I first got contacted because I do a lot of work for the Sydney jewellery trade and my name was bandied around,” Mr Croxon said.
“They rang me up last year and asked me to submit a sample of my work.
“Eventually they rang back and said I got the job.”
Mr Croxon then took three days – three consecutive, eight-hour days – to finish engraving the official 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup.
It took him a further day-and-a-half to engrave the brass version used for marketing purposes, and another five hours on each of the smaller cups.
“It’s stressful,” he said.
“Literally, you can’t make a mistake.
“The engraver is just about always the last person to touch a product, so it’s got to be right. You need to stay scared of it.”
Mr Croxon said it was a thrill to watch his work play a part in the race that stops the nation.
“I was used to (the Cup) until I watched the race,” he said.
“I played with that thing for three days. To be part of such a big thing, to have contributed in my own small way, it’s a thrill.”
Mr Croxon is thinking about heading down to next year’s Melbourne Cup, which could mark the end of his non-betting history.
“I’ve still never put a bet on,” he said.
“I thought I was already out in front. I had already won doing this.”