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The gold near Orange

7 October 2023 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, all components of the Lexus Melbourne Cup are Australian-sourced, including gold from the Newcrest Cadia Gold Mine near Orange in New South Wales and Western Australian Jarrah for the plinth.

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. 

Trophy facts

  • After an independent valuation the 18-carat gold Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy is now valued at $600,000, making it one of the most prized trophies in world sport.
  • The Lexus Melbourne Cup is 18-carat yellow gold and weighs 3.8 kilograms. It is entirely handcrafted, consisting of a bowl with three handles, atop an ornamental stem and base all in 100% Australian gold on a wooden plinth made of Western Australian Jarrah.
  • It is precision handcrafted in Australia by master craftsmen at W.J Sanders & Company on behalf of its Pallion sister company ABC Bullion using timeworn bespoke traditional techniques and specially crafted tooling.
  • This trophy is to be presented to the winning owners of the Lexus Melbourne Cup and is a reciprocal trophy, with a new Lexus Melbourne Cup crafted each year.
  • The trophy is known as the ‘Loving Cup’ due to its design, the three handles symbolizing the relationship between the winning jockey, trainer and owner.
  • To celebrate the 150th Melbourne Cup in 2010, the trophy returned to its zenith design conceived by master jeweller James Steeth in 1919. The Melbourne Cup has only had three manufacturers – Drummonds the Jewellers; Hardy Brothers The Jewellers and now The Pallion Group operating under its ABC Bullion brand.
  • The Melbourne Cup was manufactured in the United Kingdom up until 1915 when Patrobas won the Melbourne Cup. 1916 saw the first Gold Cup Trophy produced in Australia when the VRC engaged Drummonds the Jewellers to produce the Melbourne Cup. James Steeth was the designer of the trophy. This was a prototype to the three handled ‘Loving Cup’ first presented to the connections of Artilleryman back in 1919.
  • There will be six trophies presented on 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup Day. These will include trophies for the winning owner; trainer; jockey; strapper (known as The Tommy Woodcock Trophy) and breeder. ABC Bullion will also manufacture The Harry White Whip to be presented to the winning jockey on the day.
  • The Cup is also known as the ‘People’s Cup’ due to its engagement in hundreds of community events across Australia, New Zealand and other countries around the world.