Lexus Melbourne Cup gears up for record breaking tour

6 June 2023 Written by VRC

People’s Cup to visit a record 41 destinations as part of 21st annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) today revealed the 41 destinations that will play host to the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour, with the final route spanning seven countries including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Hong Kong and Japan.

Since its inaugural journey in 2003, the tour has travelled more than 900,000 kilometers and visited more than 590 regional, rural and metropolitan destinations, providing communities with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the magic of the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

This year the VRC received a record number of applications, with 99 communities across Australia and the world applying to host the People’s Cup on tour.

The final route will see the $600,000 18-carat-gold trophy travel far and wide across Australia, including visiting Hillston in western New South Wales, Darwin in the Northern Territory, Ballarat in regional Victoria and attending the Kimberley Cup while visiting Broome in Western Australia.

The tour will also visit a number of communities who have experienced hardship, including Thargomindah in Queensland who have suffered periods of prolonged drought.

The iconic trophy will make its way to a number of overseas locations, venturing to York and London in the United Kingdom, County Kildare in Ireland and Deauville in France. The Cup will also visit Hong Kong where it will attend a race meeting at Happy Valley as well as visit one of the world’s most vibrant cities in Tokyo, Japan.

New Zealand remains a firm fixture on the annual tour due to its rich history with the Lexus Melbourne Cup and this year the three-handled trophy will stop in Auckland and Cambridge. Since 1861, 44 New Zealand bred horses have won the Melbourne Cup.

The successful destinations were revealed today at a special launch event at Flemington Racecourse, where students from St Margaret’s Primary School, Maribyrnong participated in a mock barrier draw revealing each location.

2022 Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning jockey and wife Elyse Zahra with the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy at the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour Launch. (Lucas Dawson Photography)

VRC Chairman Neil Wilson was joined by Lexus Australia Chief Executive John Pappas and a number of special guests including reigning Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Mark Zahra and his family, Lexus Ambassador and dual Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Corey Brown (2009 and 2017) and dual Melbourne Cup-winning jockey John Letts AM (1972 and 1980).

VRC Chairman Neil Wilson said the record-breaking interest in the tour highlights the significance of the Lexus Melbourne Cup to people of Australia and around the world.

“After a record-breaking number of applications, the VRC is delighted to announce the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour will visit a record 41 destinations in 2023,” Mr Wilson said.

“The $600,000 18-carat-gold Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy is recognised everywhere as the People’s Cup, and we want it to be accessible to everyone and to support charity fund raising activity in each destination the cup visits. As its custodians, the VRC is proud to take it on an annual tour to share the magic of the Lexus Melbourne Cup with country towns, cities, and communities across the world.

“This year we are very pleased to take the iconic trophy far and wide across Australia and to the most overseas locations of any tour, reflecting the international interest in the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

“Since its inception, the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour has travelled to over 590 communities and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity and community initiatives.

“The tour creates early interest with the race that stops a nation, with one in every two Australian adults participating in an activity to celebrate the Lexus Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November.

“Another benefit of the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour is driving visitation to Victoria for the Melbourne Cup Carnival, which delivered $422 million in gross economic benefit to its home state in 2022.

“We can’t wait for the 21st edition of the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour to begin.”

Dual Melbourne Cup winning jockey and Lexus Ambassador Corey Brown, Lexus CEO John Pappas and dual Melbourne Cup winning jockey John Letts with the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy at the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour launch. (Lucas Dawson)

Chief Executive of Lexus Australia John Pappas said as Principal Partner of the VRC they were honoured to again be part of this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.

“We are thrilled to be entering our sixth year as naming rights sponsor of the Lexus Melbourne Cup, and the 21st year of our relationship with the VRC,” Mr Pappas said.

“Not only are we delighted the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour will again reach deep into communities across Australia, supporting fundraising efforts in all states and territories, but it’s also great to see the iconic trophy head to our home in Japan for the first time in four years as part of its expanded international journey.”

The Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour National Sweep will return in 2023 and give 24 rural and regional Cup Tour destinations across Australia the opportunity to be allocated a starting barrier for the ‘the race that stops a nation’™.

Destination representatives will be flown to Melbourne to watch the Lexus Melbourne Cup live on track at Flemington, with the town which draws the barrier of the Cup-winning horse presented with a cash prize of $50,000 to put towards a community charity of their choice.

This year's tour will commence its journey on Saturday 10 June, kicking off in Tokyo.

Tour destinations will be supported by the VRC to plan and host a range of memorable community events during the Cup’s visit.

For further information about the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour please visit


Victoria – Melbourne, Port Fairy/Koroit, Ballarat, Macedon, Bendigo, Boort, Nagambie, Queenscliff

New South Wales – Sydney, Hillston, Maitland, Coffs Coast, Orange

South Australia – Adelaide, Balaklava, Port Augusta, Quorn, Kangaroo Island

Western Australia – Perth, Pinjarra, Broome

Australian Capital Territory – Canberra

Queensland – Brisbane, Gold Coast, Boulia, Thargomindah, Cunnamulla, Cairns, Mount Isa

Tasmania – Launceston, Deloraine

Northern Territory – Darwin

International – York (UK), Cambridge (NZ), Auckland (NZ), London (UK) Hong Kong (HK), Tokyo (JPN), Hokkaido (JPN), Country Kildare (IRE), Deauville (FRA)

Date Destination
Saturday 10 June – Sunday 11 June Tokyo, Japan
Monday 12 June – Wednesday 15 June Hokkaido, Japan
Friday 23 June – Wednesday 28 June United Kingdom
Friday 30 June – Saturday 1 July Auckland, New Zealand
Sunday 2 July – Wednesday 5 July Cambridge, New Zealand
Thursday 6 July Adelaide, South Australia
Friday 7 July Balaklava, South Australia *National Sweep Location
Saturday 8 July – Sunday 9 July Port Augusta, South Australia *National Sweep Location
Monday 10 July - Tuesday 11 July Quorn, South Australia *National Sweep Location
Saturday 15 July Boulia, Queensland *National Sweep Location
Sunday 16 July – Tuesday 18 July Mount Isa, Queensland *National Sweep Location
Monday 24 July – Thursday 27 July Sydney, New South Wales
Friday 28 July - Saturday 29 July Kangaroo Island, South Australia *National Sweep Location
Tuesday 1 August - Wednesday 2 August Perth, Western Australia
Thursday 3 August Pinjarra, Western Australia *National Sweep Location
Friday 4 August – Saturday 5 August Broome, Western Australia *National Sweep Location
Wednesday 9 August Maitland, New South Wales *National Sweep Location
Friday 11 August Coffs Coast, New South Wales *National Sweep Location
Tuesday 16 August – Thursday 17 August County Kildare, Ireland
Saturday 19 August – Sunday 20 August Deauville, France
Tuesday 22 August London United Kingdom
Wednesday 23 August – Saturday 26 August York, United Kingdom
Monday 28 August Launceston, Tasmania
Tuesday 29 August Deloraine, Tasmania *National Sweep Location
Friday 1 September – Sunday 3 September Gold Coast, Queensland *National Sweep Location
Monday 4 September Brisbane, Queensland
Wednesday 6 September Canberra, ACT
Thursday 7 September – Saturday 9 September Cairns, Queensland *National Sweep Location
Wednesday 13 September – Friday 15 September Darwin, Northern Territory
Monday 18 September Thargomindah, Queensland *National Sweep Location
Tuesday 19 September Cunnamulla, Queensland *National Sweep Location
Saturday 23 September Hillston, New South Wales *National Sweep Location
Monday 25 September – Wednesday 27 September Hong Kong
Monday 2 October – Tuesday 3 October Orange, New South Wales *National Sweep Location
Thursday 5 October - Friday 6 October Port Fairy/ Koroit, Victoria *National Sweep Location
Monday 9 October Macedon, Victoria *National Sweep Location
Tuesday 10 October – Wednesday 11 October Nagambie, Victoria *National Sweep Location
Friday 13 October – Saturday 14 October Boort, Victoria *National Sweep Location
Tuesday 17 October Ballarat, Victoria *National Sweep Location
Friday 20 October Melbourne, Victoria
Tuesday 24 October Queenscliff, Victoria *National Sweep Location
Wednesday 1 November Bendigo, Victoria *National Sweep Location
Thursday 2 November – Monday 6 November Melbourne, Victoria
Tuesday 7 November 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup Day