THE Melbourne Cup is the race that stops the nation, but the event’s iconic $200,000 trophy caused almost as much excitement when it galloped through Cessnock on Sunday.
Cessnock Race Club Advisory Committee member Bruce Wilson OAM lodged a submission for the town to host the 18-carat-gold trophy during the 15th annual Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour.
“I talked about the fact that Cessnock was home to the country’s most successful jockey Robert Thompson who has ridden more than 4000 winners; that our racing history dates back to 1876; and that there were 12 tracks within half an hour of Cessnock in the old days,” he said.
“I was absolutely chuffed when they added us to the tour. People thought it was absolutely amazing that they could hold it and have their photo taken with it. A lot had attended the Melbourne Cup, but this was the closest they’d ever gotten to the real thing.”
The trophy was taken to Cessnock Leagues Club; Jacaranda Grove Hostel; Drayton’s Family Wines and the TAFE campus.
Since 2003, the Melbourne Cup Tour has provided rural, regional and metropolitan communities across Australia and New Zealand a chance to experience the magic of the iconic trophy.
In that time the cup has travelled more than 456,000 kilometres and visited more than 377 towns and cities.
In the Melbourne Cup’s 154-year history, there have been more than 30 winners with links to the Hunter, starting with the 1867 champion Tim Whiffler, from Tocal on the Paterson River.