IT APPEARS lady luck was on the side of this year's The Amazing Race Australia winners.
Victorian police officers Andrew Thoday and Shane Haw beat fellow finalists Paul Montgomery and Steve Scale and Michelle and Jo Troy in a thrilling race to the finish line at Fraser Island's picturesque Lake McKenzie in tonight's grand final.
Just a few days before setting out on their epic five-week race around the world, Thoday received a good omen in the form of a fortune cookie.
"I've still got it right here actually. It says 'you will be a contest winner'," he said.
"That was the Saturday before we left. How's that? And I'm not superstitious at all, but I've hung on to that."
It was a case of nice guys finishing first when the coppers managed to come back from a three-and-a-half-hour start behind the other two teams in China.
Their level-headed thinking in the final leg saw them overtake the other two teams in Brisbane and maintain their lead through the final challenges at Fraser Island.
"Once we hit Australia, we knew we could do anything," Haw said.
"We had our own car and a map, so we knew we were under control. We were just relying on ourselves."
The moment they realised they had won the $250,000 grand prize was a mixture of excitement and relief.
"If you can bottle it then you'd be a millionaire," Thoday said.
"I've never had a feeling like that."
But they've had to keep their big win a secret since the beginning of the year, a tough task considering their line of work.
"People have been trying to trip us up," Thoday said.
"Cops being cops, they think they're smart. They tried their best. They had the best detectives trying to get it out of us. They threw everything except the phone book at us."
Shaw added: "I still sent off to Hong Kong for a (cheap) phone case not to give anything away."
Now that the cat's out of the bag, they plan to pay large chunks off their mortgages and treat themselves to some modest luxuries.
"I've had the same crap pair of golf clubs since I was 16," Thoday said.
"They're too short for me but I just made due. I think that's going to be my treat."
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