With the clock set to strike 12 and a new year rolling in this weekend, here are five big questions set to play out in 2023.
A local winner would be a fitting result in the Classic's half-century anniversary.
James McFadden, a two-time victor, was the last Warrnambool winner in 2020, while Jamie Veal, McFadden and Corey McCullagh made it three years in a row for local winners from 2016-2018.
Kyle Hirst was the last American to win in 2015 while Queenslanders have won the other two since then.
This year's Classic will have one of its most stacked line-ups in recent memory with the addition of more Americans, including reigning World of Outlaws champion Brad Sweet.
But with unprecedented washouts this summer in the lead up to the January meeting, and with a host of variables in any race, it's a tough task to say who will be flying the flag at the end of the three-day extravaganza.
Warrnambool Mermaids enter the 2023 Big V division one season as the team to beat after winning it all in 2022.
Led by experienced mentor Lee Primmer for another campaign, the roster may look a little different to when it won this year.
Whether key veterans go around again is yet to be seen, though Primmer has been actively recruiting new players, including under-20 Victorian representative Dakota Crichton, to keep his team as competitive as possible, while the question of an import has been floated.
A talented teenage cohort had a great year surrounded by veteran leaders and should take the next step in 2023.
It's hard to believe the last time someone other than Koroit won the Hampden league senior premiership was in 2013 when Warrnambool won back-to-back flags.
After the Saints secured their seventh-straight flag in September, the question became 'when will their dream run end?'
Success breeds success so after seven flags, it's going to be tough to stop the Saints in their tracks, especially with similar personnel in the mix again in 2023.
North Warrnambool Eagles and South Warrnambool are the best-placed teams to get the job done but need to find the mental edge to go one step further.
Winslow export Ciaron Maher - half of one of the most successful training partnerships in 2022 - won a record sixth Grand Annual Steeplechase with Heberite before going on to claim the "race that stops the nation", the Melbourne Cup, with Gold Trip.
Alongside co-trainer David Eustace, Maher had more than 330 wins this year with the pair also leading the nation for wins in the 2022-23 season with 130 so far. It's safe to say this pairing will remain at the forefront of Australian racing.
South Warrnambool's George Stevens and Hamilton's Jessica Rentsch loom as the south-west's best chances to hear their names at next year's AFL and AFL Women's drafts.
Meanwhile, March 2023 starts the qualification process for the 2024 Paris Olympics, with athletes such as wheelchair basketballer Jaylen Brown and Camperdown's Grace Brown, who won Commonwealth cycling gold in 2022, set to push their case to represent the green and gold.
After running fourth and third in the last two Melbourne Cups, Warrnambool jockey Teo Nugent will be more determined than ever to add his name to its esteemed list of winners.
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