Celebrating 20 years of the Melbourne Cup Tour
The Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2022 taking in select destinations across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
Commencing back in July, the Cup Tour started off by visiting the NSW regional town of Tulligibeal; moved to Dirnaseer and Junee before closing the first leg out in Coolamon, NSW. These towns were amongst the 92 applications received for this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour with 33 individual destinations selected based on the strength of their submission; historical connection to the Melbourne Cup and overall community appeal.
Post NSW, the Cup Tour moved quickly to New Zealand where communities in Auckland and Cambridge were engaged. With 36-time Melbourne Cup race-caller Greg Miles and VRC General Manager Racing, Leigh Jordon on board, a special Melbourne Cup Breeders’ Trophy presentation was made to Don Goodwin, the breeder of 2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup winner, Verry Elleegant. This was staged at the famed Cambridge Stud, former home to champion stallions Zabeel and Sir Tristram both prominent in the pedigree of Verry Elleegant.
The Cup Tour then headed to Singapore for engagements at the High Commissioner’s residence; Carbine Club and Tourism Australia before heading back to South Australia for community events in Wallaroo, the former hometown of Racing Hall of Famer, George Hanlon.
It was fifty years since George trained Piping Lane to win the Cup and along with Cup winning jockeys John Letts and Glen Boss, a popular visit was made back to the copper mining community.
Continuing the theme commemorating the Piping Lane victory a Cup Tour stop was made to Devonport, Tasmania in mid-August to reconnect with the Trinder family, the owners of 1972 Melbourne Cup winner. All part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the last Tasmanian bred horse to win the Cup.
Throughout the Cup Tour support was provided for communities affected by drought, floods and fire as well as providing the opportunity to raise funds for localised charities.
This all dove-tailed nicely into the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour National Sweep where one lucky destination was the recipient of $50,000 to a chosen charity.
Gold Coast Turf Club and Women In Racing combined forces as the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour destination for Gold Coast and drew barrier 14 to be allocated the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace trained stayer Gold Trip. They are now $50,000 richer after French bred six-year-old Gold Trip stormed home to win the 162nd Lexus Melbourne Cup at the recent Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Other stops on the Cup Tour included unique visits to the mining town of Newman in The Pilbara, WA and Central Slopes in the West Wyalong and Forbes, NSW region where the gold came from for this year’s Cup Trophy. Visits were also made to Cloncurry and Charter’s Towers in Queensland, the latter celebrating the 150th year anniversary of the town.
Other highlights included visits to Warwick, Kandanga and Allora in Qld as well as the recently flood effected community of Echuca/Moama in Victoria. The Cup also visited a number of regional Victoria towns including the coastal towns of Portarlington and Seaspray along with Maffra and Stanhope. Maffra and Seaspray being communities closely connected with 1915 Cup winner in Patrobas. Patrobas was owned by Mrs Edith Widdis, the first female owner of a Melbourne Cup winner.
Throughout the Cup Tour, the team visited 32 schools; engaged in 110 community events; 13 hospitals and aged care facilities and engaged in excess of 13 sponsor driven events. 19 individual ambassadors were utilised throughout providing their story connected with the Melbourne Cup.
Three-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey, Glen Boss and 2007 Cup winning jockey, Michael Rodd being new inclusions to the talent line up. There have been 599 communities visited in the 20 year period.
Applications for the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour will open on 1 February 2023. Go to www.melbournecuptour.com.au for more details.