Melbourne Cup tour stops in Warrnambool

The south-west was given a rare opportunity to see the very cup from the race that stops the nation this week. 

Horse-mad: Melbourne Cup winning jockey Wayne Harris (1994 aboard Jeune), and Warrnambool RDA president Norm Halliwell hold up the 2016 Melbourne Cup, as the trophy visits Warrnambool. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Horse-mad: Melbourne Cup winning jockey Wayne Harris (1994 aboard Jeune), and Warrnambool RDA president Norm Halliwell hold up the 2016 Melbourne Cup, as the trophy visits Warrnambool. Picture: Rob Gunstone

The internationally pursued Melbourne Cup arrived in Warrnambool on Friday as part of a three-month tour with the very cup that will be presented to this year’s race winner.

Victoria Racing Club historian Andrew Lemon said the $175,000 trophy was a “smile machine” as everyone was “amazed” to see it in person. 

“A real work of craftsmanship”, the two-kilogram,18-carat gold race-symbol has travelled across Australia and New Zealand and will make its way back home to Melbourne before November. 

“No one thinks it’s the real cup but it is,” he said. “It’s the same size as the one presented to Phar Lap.”

Mr Lemon said the tour-group felt right at home in the “racing-mad town” and praised the city’s support for the sport.

“Racing is the only sport practiced and followed all around Australia,” he said. “The Cup is the bedrock of Australia but it’s the grassroots races that keep it alive.”

Gillan Park residents said they enjoyed the visit, which included a special presentation from 1994 Melbourne Cup winner Wayne Harris.

For resident Gwenda McLarty it brought back fond memories of her childhood. 

“My father was a horse trainer and I used to jockey for him,” she said.

“I grew up in a real horsey community.”

Mr Harris said he wished he could have joined the riders that trained on the beach Friday morning. 

“It’s really great to see the beach work,” he said. “It’s a wonderful thing for horses to be able to do.”

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