PORT Fairy’s Dachshund Dash has been hailed as the Melbourne Cup of dog racing.
Across the weekend, the seaside town celebrated music and art at the Winter Weekend festival.
A highlight of the event was the dash, which drew a huge crowd to Southcombe Park on Sunday.
The race for Dachshunds under two years old was won by Hector, owned by David and Elena Jacovides, of Ascot Vale.
Mr Jacovides said he had been training Hector for six months at his local cricket pitch in the lead up to the race.
“The under-two race is the Golden Slipper of the Dachshund races and the two-years-and-over is the Melbourne Cup,” he said. “We will definitely be back to defend our title next year.”
The two-year-old-and-over race was won by seasoned performer Daisy, owned by Jemma Chapple from Portland.
Daisy was crowned back-to-back champion, after taking out the race last year.
Jemma, 11, said she had completed “a little bit of training” with Daisy.
“She loves mum and dad so she runs to them,” she said.
Mount Gambier’s Jack Mitchinson, 2, and his dog Jasper were the winners of the Dachshund jumps racing competition.
Jack’s parents Kara and Rob helped Jack control Jasper around the course.
“We have been coming for the past four years,” Mrs Mitchinson said.
Mrs Mitchinson dressed for the occasion, wearing a Dachshund scarf, jumper and brooch.
Jo Moore’s dog Stella took out the open-breed race.
Co-ordinator Henry Toller-Bond said the doggy dash had received 51 entries, the most ever in its nine-year history.
“It’s the race that stops Port Fairy,” he said.
Mr Toller-Bond estimated 1000 people watched the races.
Winter Weekend Festival committee secretary Adrian Crosier said the festival had been well received. “We had a really good opening on Friday night and the concert on Saturday night celebrating local music was sold out.”
The concert featured Andy Alberts and Shane Howard at the Port Fairy Lecture Hall.
Across the weekend there were art exhibitions, a dog’s breakfast on the village green, markets, a magic show and live music.