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Going for gold

6 October 2021 Written by Joe McGrath

Gold is synonymous with excellence and outstanding achievements – you just have to look to the Olympic Games to see this in all its glory, as the world’s best athletes wear the colour proudly around their necks.

It is no different in the Lexus Melbourne Cup. When the winning connections hold the golden three-handled loving cup aloft, it signifies that the greatest horse, jockey and team have claimed Australia’s greatest race.

This year, the gold for the Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy was sourced from Kirkland Lake Gold from their Fosterville mine in Victoria.

Located less than 20 kilometres from Bendigo, it is a high-grade, low-cost underground gold mine. Fosterville commenced operation in 2005 and, during its initial years, produced gold from near-surface, low-grade mineralisation. Fosterville is now one of the largest gold mines in Australia producing more than 600,000 ounces per annum.

Bendigo was at the heart of the Gold Rush when the first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861, when it and the towns around it were buzzing with people prospecting for gold.

Once the gold is extracted from the mine, it makes its way to the refinery of ABC Bullion where it is put through a series of processes to produce 99.999 pure gold. Once that gold is set, it is made into sheets and then transferred into the shape and form of the Melbourne Cup. This process can take up to 250 hours over several weeks with meticulous craftsmanship.

The trophy is presented to the winning connections about 15 minutes after the race and the VRC sources a new trophy each year.