The spring and most importantly to race fans around the globe the ‘race that stops a nation’ is fast approaching as evidenced by this week’s Melbourne Cup trophy tour launch.
The launch took place in the wet at Flemington Racecourse on Thursday morning and included a visit from the 1992 Melbourne Cup champion Subzero.
Every year a handful of towns around the country and across the Tasman in New Zealand are treated to a glimpse of that season’s ‘Loving Trophy’ with the prestigious winners’ trophy for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) doing the rounds ahead of the Flemington feature on the first Tuesday of November.
This year the 2013 Emirates Melbourne Cup tour will reach 34 destinations as announced by the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), each location to get up close and personal with the 18 carat gold trophy, worth $175,000, that will be awarded to the Melbourne Cup winner at the end of the year.
Kicking off in July the tour continues over three months and sees the trophy on show at a host of capital cities and regional towns to celebrate the latest edition of the world’s richest handicap after the VRC received a record number of applications to be included on the itinerary.
“This year we received a record amount of tender applications across Australia and New Zealand and the Victoria Racing Club congratulates the successful destinations for their efforts,” VRC Chairman Michael Burn said.
“The Victoria Racing Club is incredibly proud to share the Emirates Melbourne Cup and provide this unique opportunity to Australasian communities.”
It is not just the trophy that visits the list of locales on the tour either with the ‘cup’ convoyed by many past Melbourne Cup heroes, legends and associates including jockeys and trainers that entertain with their stories of bagging the big one on the Australian racing scene.
One town especially privileged to have made the cut this year is western Queensland’s Karumba which doesn’t even have a racecourse of its own.
“The Melbourne Cup is in the DNA of just about every Australian isn’t it?” Karumba local John Moran said after hearing the news.
“It’s part of our life, it’s our lifestyle, it’s our heritage.
“It’s got something – even if you don’t go to the races it’s got the appeal, it’s like Ned Kelly isn’t it or something like that – it’s Australian.”
The tour visit will serve as a ‘race day’ of sorts for the community Moran said and would be highly anticipated.
“Ladies can get dressed up as if they’re going to Flemington and we’ll have fashions on the field,” he said.
“I’ll do a phantom cup broadcast that never was and we’ll have a big day.
“It’ll be a lot of celebrations – a lot of money raised for the cancer council – and that is the main aim.”
Another notable destination is Nagambie in Victoria, the town now home of the 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain who is retired and serving at stud.
The final destination is then of course Flemington when the trophy arrives ahead of the 153rd running of the iconic two mile race.
2013 Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour Destinations
Queensland: Rockhampton, Karumba, Herberton, Longreach, Nebo, Brisbane, Quilpie, Dalby and Beaudesert
Western Australia: Goldfields, Leonora and Perth
New Zealand: Auckland
Australian Capital Territory: Canberra
New South Wales: Sydney, Albury, Queanbeyan, Mulgoa and Bowral
South Australia: Naracoorte and Adelaide
Tasmania: Devonport and Hobart
Victoria: Nagambie, Moe, Maffra, Mortlake, Terang, Woolsthorpe, Geelong, Wonthaggi and Cape Woolamai, Flemington