The Lexus Melbourne Cup explores the high country with Charlie Lovick
The Lexus Melbourne Cup touched base in Victoria’s High Country before its journey really begins on the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour, where it made its way into the hands of renowned High Country horseman, Charlie Lovick.
Since the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour’s inception in 2003, the three-handled Cup has travelled far and wide across Australia, with previous destinations including Birdsville in central Queensland, Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Longford in Tasmania, Newman in Western Australia and Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Recently it touched base in Victoria’s High Country before its journey really begins, where it made its way into the hands of renowned High Country horseman, Charlie Lovick.
“Horses have been my life, and the mountains have been my life, and together, we’re a pretty hard combination to beat.” These are the words of Charlie Lovick, who has lived and breathed horses his entire life and lived on his property for 73 years. “My family were the original pioneers of the area in 1860 and we’ve been here ever since. And if I’m anything at all, it’s because of horses.”
The mountains and countryside are unworkable without horses, says Charlie, who was master of horses for The Man From Snowy River film.
“A horse becomes a partnership with you, and it’s actually a love affair. If you’ve got a good horse under you, you feel confident and the horse gets confidence out of you as well.”
Now a director of the Horse and Human Foundation, Charlie is passionate about giving retired racehorses a second chance. The charity aims to rehabilitate and rehome racehorses after their racing days are done. Charlie has always worked with thoroughbreds and believes they are the perfect candidates for a second career.
“Thoroughbreds are excellent horses. [Because of their] temperament, athleticism, ability … They’re kind, they want to be loved and they’ll find a strong connection with people.”
Turning his farm into a place to rehome the thoroughbreds is now his life’s work, as well as building a heritage centre on the property called the High Country Hall of Fame, which will house the history, tradition and culture of the area.
Although he believes he is much better equipped to rehome them than to “chase them round a racecourse and lose money on them,” Charlie does have a special connection with Flemington and the Lexus Melbourne Cup. For 12 years, Charlie and his fellow High Country Horseman rode down the famed Flemington straight with the coveted Loving Cup in hand and present it to the crowd, moments before the race that stops a nation was run. “We always thought it was a Cup for the people, and it still feels that way, I think.”
Charlie had not held the Melbourne Cup aloft for some years until recently when the Cup visited the High Country to promote the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour, the iconic event that encourages regional towns and cities to get involved.
Only two weeks remain to apply to host the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour for 2023, with towns, cities and communities across Australia and the world invited to submit their tender to host the coveted trophy on tour.
This year the iconic trophy will also travel abroad, providing international destinations with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the magic of the Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Now in its 21st year, the tour has travelled more than 900,000 kilometres and visited more than 590 destinations. This includes visiting 392 schools, 323 hospitals and aged care centres and participating in over 1,550 community events, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for local fundraising initiatives.
The Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour National Sweep will again be part of this year’s tour to give 24 rural and regional Cup Tour destinations across Australia the opportunity to be allocated a barrier for the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup.
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.
Applications can be made online at MelbourneCupTour.com.au until Wednesday 12 April.
Successful 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour submissions will be announced in June, with the tour officially commencing its journey in July.