Melbourne Cup coming to Wagga

THE greatest prize in Australian sport is coming to Wagga.

In a fabulous first for the city, the 2014 Melbourne Cup trophy will make a spectacular stopover in Wagga as part of its national tour starting in Western Australia next month.

Melbourne Cup Tour (MCT) organisers yesterday unveiled the list of 34 destinations for the Melbourne Cup’s across-nation odyssey, with the Murrumbidgee Turf Club chosen among the coveted hosts.

As past Cup champions Might And Power, Doriemus, Efficient and Rogan Josh grazed nearby on the Living Legends property outside Melbourne, the Victorian premier’s parliamentary secretary, Craig Ondarchie, announced the 18-carat gold trophy, valued at $176,000, would be in Wagga on September 6.

Murrumbidgee Turf Club president Stuart Lamont later revealed a “community event” would be staged to celebrate the appearance of the Melbourne Cup in the city on the first Saturday of spring.

Speaking to The Daily Advertiser yesterday, Lamont said the arrival of the Melbourne Cup would provide a “rare opportunity” for the residents of the city and surrounding centres.

“It’s exciting for Wagga to be part of such a major event for racing,” Lamont said yesterday.

“This will be a rare opportunity for Riverina residents to see the

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GOLDEN MOMENT: Murrumbidgee Turf Club’s Michelle Blocklock with the 2015 Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup first hand.

“And a wide cross-section of the community – not only those involved in racing – will be able to enjoy the experience.”

Although details of the community celebration are yet to be completed, it is expected thousands will take the chance to admire the trophy to be handed to the owners of this year’s great race.

As usual, Australia will come to a virtual standstill on the first Tuesday in November (4) when the Melbourne Cup is run and won.

Significantly, Melbourne Cup Tour organisers took time to acknowledge Wagga as the birthplace 100 years ago of legendary jockey Arthur “Scobie” Breasley at yesterday’s announcement.

Breasley never rode a Melbourne Cup winner, but claimed five Caulfield Cups, a career tally of 3251 victories and four English jockey premierships.

MTC promotions manager Michelle Blacklock was at the Living Legends property yesterday when Wagga, Cootamundra and Deniliquin were given pride of place on the Cup tour.

“The Emirates Melbourne Cup visit provides the opportunity for Wagga and surrounding communities to celebrate this proud icon of Australian history while drawing attention to local landmarks, including the Murrumbidgee River,” Blacklock said.

The Cup Tour will start in the small WA town of York, 375 kilometres east of Perth, in July before crossing the continent to ultimately land in Melbourne on October 27.

Along the way, the Melbourne Cup will be on show at 33 other sites, and will viewed by hundreds of thousands.

Wagga, Cootamundra and Deniliquin are among eight MCT destinations in NSW, which also include Sydney, Murwillumbah-Tweed Heads, Lismore, Ballina and Grenfell.

The three and a half month MCT will not just be about the Melbourne Cup trophy.

Organisers have confirmed jockeys, trainers and owners with ties to the Melbourne Cup will also take part in the tour, recalling their personal stories of racing glory and heartache.

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