Lexus Melbourne Cup touches down in Tokyo

15 June 2023 Written by VRC

The 21st edition of the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour has officially kicked off in Japan, with the iconic trophy beginning its 150-day tour taking in the sights of the Japanese metropolis Tokyo, several of Japan’s top studs and a visit to Lexus Melbourne Cup hopeful Silver Sonic.

As part of the Cup’s first overseas journey for 2023, it caught up with multiple Group 1 winning Australian jockey Damian Lane and his wife Bonnie, who have called Tokyo home for the past few months.

Bonnie provided the 18-carat-gold trophy with the ultimate Tokyo experience, carrying it across the famous Shibuya Crossing in racewear fit for Flemington. Bonnie said it was fantastic to welcome the iconic trophy to Tokyo.

“It was amazing to welcome the Cup to Tokyo and take it to Shibuya Crossing, one of the city’s most famous landmarks,” she said.

“To be dressed in racewear and hold the iconic trophy at one of the world’s most iconic landmarks was incredible and something I will remember forever. We had so many people stop us for photos and recognise the Cup. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the tour.”

Fresh off winning his fifth Japanese Group 1 last month in the Japanese Derby, Damian said his eyes are still firmly on winning the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

“The past few years I have been very fortunate to have some terrific opportunities, especially here in Tokyo and I want to continue that success across the world which includes the Melbourne Cup Carnival back home,” he said.

“It’s every jockey’s dream to win the Melbourne Cup and it’s still the number one but in the meantime, I just want to keep riding winners and doing the best that I can.”

Victoria Racing Club Chairman Neil Wilson said it was great to commence the 21st edition of the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour in Tokyo.

“This year the Lexus Melbourne Cup will visit the most overseas locations of any Cup Tour so it is very fitting to officially start the tour in Tokyo,” Mr Wilson said.

“Our Principal Partner Lexus also has a proud Japanese heritage so we were very pleased to take the Lexus Melbourne Cup to their Intersect by Lexus design space while in Tokyo.

“The positive reception the Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy received in Japan as part of its tour highlights the international interest in the race. It was such a highlight to have champion jockey Damian Lane and wife Bonnie involved in the Tokyo visit.”

As part of its tour of Tokyo, the coveted trophy visited Intersect by Lexus in Ayoama, which is a luxury space offering guests a sense of Lexus and the lifestyles it embodies through not only cars but also food, design, art and technology.  Intersect by Lexus is the world’s first Intersect by Lexus shop, reflecting the brand’s design and environmental ethos.

The Cup also visited the Zojo-ji Temple and Tokyo Tower before travelling to Tokyo Racecourse for the Group 3 Epsom Cup, with Damian delighting racegoers by riding three winners.

The $600,000 trophy continued its tour of Japan in Hokkaido, where it visited Shadai Farm and caught up with Lexus Melbourne Cup hopeful Silver Sonic. 

The coveted trophy also visited Shadai Stallion Station which is home to a number of prized stallions, with the Cup making a special visit to one the most famous racehorses to grace the turf in Asia Maurice.

While in Hokkaido, the Cup also visited Northern Farm, with prominent owner Katsumi Yoshida uniting the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy with his 2006 Melbourne Cup trophy. Katsumi’s talented stayer Delta Blues became the first Japanese horse to win the ‘race that stops a nation’™ in 2006.

This year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour will see the iconic trophy travel to 41 destinations, 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 kilometres, visited more than 590 regional, rural and metropolitan destinations, and helped communities raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity and community initiatives. 

For further information please visit our 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour website.