Local Sport

Melbourne Cup To Visit NT

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After receiving a record-breaking number of applications, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) today announced that Darwin and Alice Springs will join racing history when they play host to the iconic 18-carat gold Lexus Melbourne Cup in 2019.

The successful Northern Territory destinations were revealed as Tour stops at a special launch event today at Flemington Racecourse, joining 37 other towns and cities across the globe that will be part of the 17th annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.

The VRC also officially announced the increase in prizemoney for the Lexus Melbourne Cup to $8 million, a record in the 158 year history of Australia’s greatest race.

This year holds special significance for Australia’s most iconic trophy, with the VRC celebrating 100 years of the renowned three-handled design, first presented to the connections of Artilleryman in 1919.

As part of the Cup’s visit to Alice Springs, the coveted trophy will attend the iconic Camel Cup on July 20 and visit the small community of Hermannsburg, located 125 kilometres from Alice Springs.

This year’s Tour will also feature an exciting new element, with 24 rural and regional destinations across Australia to be allocated a barrier for the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup. Alice Springs will be included as a national sweep destination in the exciting new initiative.

Barriers will be drawn at random throughout the Tour and the town which draws the barrier of the Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning horse will be presented with a cash prize of $50,000 to put towards a charity for a local community initiative.

VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott joined Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Sport Lizzie Blandthorn, Lexus ambassador Megan Gale, 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne and three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Damien Oliver at the launch event today.

In an exciting spectacle for guests, the 1919 Melbourne Cup made a grand entrance alongside the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy, with a century of Australia’s greatest race between them.

The 1919 Melbourne Cup will join the People’s Cup on Tour this year when it visits Grafton, NSW, where the Myer family, custodians of the 1919 trophy, will share the rare artefact with the community. Grafton is home to Yulgilbar Station, a property formerly owned by 1919 Melbourne Cup-winning owner, Sir Samuel Hordern. The property is now under the ownership of his granddaughter Sarah and her husband Baillieu Myer AC.

As part of the Cup Tour’s overseas expedition, the trophy will attend the historic Ebor Festival at York Racecourse in the United Kingdom and preview some of the potential 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup contenders. The Cup will also travel to Tokyo in Japan to cheer on Australia in the Rugby World Cup.

The coveted trophy will travel far and wide across Australia, including visits to Blackall in outback Queensland, Deniliquin in New South Wales, Hobart in Tasmania and Bunyip in Victoria.

Three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy and his wife Cathy will also join the VRC stable this year as Cup Tour Ambassadors, travelling back to Kerrin’s hometown of Streaky Bay in South Australia with their four children to share the Cup with the community, who are campaigning to build a life-size statue of the racing champion to display on the foreshore.

Fellow triple Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Damien Oliver will accompany the People’s Cup to Perth, visiting his old primary school and catching up with the community.

As it makes its way back to Melbourne for the first Tuesday in November, the 18-carat gold trophy will make a pit stop at the world-famous Ramsay Street as part of a special visit to the set of Neighbours. Cast members Tim Robards and April Rose Pengilly were on hand at Flemington today to celebrate the exciting inclusion.

Mrs Elliott said this year’s Tour will celebrate the appeal of racing and the iconic Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy with more communities than ever before.

“Since the Tour began in 2003, we have delighted in bringing communities together in the shared history and magic of the Melbourne Cup,” Mrs Elliott said.

“This year is especially significant, with 2019 marking the 100th anniversary of the three-handled Melbourne Cup trophy design.

“To unite the original 1919 Melbourne Cup with the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup today was incredibly special. I thank the Myer family for sharing their 1919 trophy with us all.

“We are also delighted to introduce the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour National Sweep. This exciting initiative will add to the Cup Tour experience for communities across Australia.”

Lexus Australia Chief Executive Scott Thompson said Lexus is privileged to be a key partner in such an important VRC activity.

“Lexus is thrilled to be entering its second year as naming rights sponsor of the Lexus Melbourne Cup, and the 17th year of our relationship with the VRC.

“We see Australia’s most prestigious sporting and social event, the Lexus Melbourne Cup and the Cup Tour, as an opportunity to show you the lengths we go to, to create experiences that inspire and surprise you, which precedes this year’s Making of Amazing.”

Since its beginning, the Tour has travelled more than 600,000 kilometres and visited more than 450 regional, rural and metropolitan destinations. It has provided communities with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the magic of the Melbourne Cup and hear the many stories connected with Australia’s greatest horse-race.