11 September 2019

The People’s Cup races to the Sapphire Coast as part of world tour

| Lachlan Roberts
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The 18-carat gold Lexus Melbourne Cup will visit the Sapphire Coast as part of the 16th annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour. Photos: Supplied by Victoria Racing Club.

The Sapphire Coast will join racing history when it hosts the $200,000, 18-carat gold Lexus Melbourne Cup this week as part of the 16th annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.

The Cup will tour more than 37 destinations around Australia and internationally in 2018, with the trophy heading to Ireland, UK, New Zealand and South Korea, while also trekking to Dunedoo, Katherine, Canberra, Mission Beach and Hobart before returning to Flemington for ‘the race that stops a nation’™ on the first Tuesday in November.

“Selected for their passion for racing and community spirit”, and with the support of Sapphire Coast Turf Club, the Bega Valley will host the People’s Cup and racing royalty Wayne Harris and Keith Hillier this Thursday and Friday (27-28 September).

Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Wayne Harris and celebrated racing writer Keith Hillier will join in the celebrations and share their unique Lexus Melbourne Cup story with the community.

A Muswellbrook local, Wayne Harris put his hometown on the map when he won the 1979 Golden Slipper on Century Miss, trained by the late Bart Cummings. He later went on to claim victory with Jeune in the 1994 Melbourne Cup.

An experienced thoroughbred racing journalist, Keith Hillier is the complete racing media man, having worked across print, television and radio throughout his career. With a wealth of knowledge, Hillier was the former chief racing writer for the Herald Sun and also hosted Channel 7’s long-running Sunday program World of Sport.

While in the Sapphire Coast, Harris and Hillier will take part in a series of exciting community events which includes taking the iconic trophy whale watching on the Eden Cat Balou and attending a special Lexus Melbourne Cup mystery dinner.

Victoria Racing Club Chief Neil Wilson said the club is looking forward to bringing the magic of the People’s Cup to the Sapphire Coast.

“Each year, the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour celebrates the heroes and stories intrinsically linked to the 158-year old Lexus Melbourne Cup race,” Mr Wilson said.

“Wayne Harris and Keith Hillier are iconic figures in Australian racing and the Sapphire Coast community can look forward to them sharing their unique Melbourne Cup stories while on Tour.

“The Lexus Melbourne Cup holds a special place in many people’s hearts and it is only fitting we take the iconic three-handled Cup on a journey to meet the people who share in our love for the great race.”

Since its inaugural year in 2003, the cup has travelled more than half a million kilometres and visited more than 400 regional, rural and metropolitan destinations, providing communities with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the magic of the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Locals will have the chance to see the Cup and meet racing royalty at the following events:

Thursday 27th September,
7:00am – 8:30am – Whale Watching
Eden Cat Balou Cruises, Weecoon St, Eden
The Cup will begin its Tour of the Sapphire Coast whale watching on board the Cat Balou in Eden. Passengers will have the opportunity to get up close with the $200,000 trophy during the journey. Cat Balou will be donating five dollars from each ticket sold to Eden Marine Rescue.

10:00am – 11:00am: Community Event
Eden Fishermans Club, 217 Imlay St, Eden
The iconic trophy will visit Eden Fishermans’ Club for morning tea. Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour Ambassadors Wayne Harris and Keith Hillier will share their Melbourne Cup stories with guests.

12:00pm – 15:00pm: Meet the Cup Luncheon
Merimbula Aquarium & Wharf Restaurant, The Wharf, Lake St, Merimbula
The Cup will attend a special Meet the Cup luncheon at Merimbula Aquarium & Wharf Restaurant. Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour Ambassadors Wayne Harris and Keith Hillier will participate in a Q&A and guests will have the opportunity to have their photo taken with the coveted trophy.

Friday 28th September.
10:25am – 11:30am: Bega Cheese Factory visit
Bega Cheese Factory and Heritage Centre, 13/11 Lagoon St, Bega
The Cup will visit the iconic Bega Cheese Factory and Heritage Centre for morning tea with employees and visitors.

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