Not one, but two Melbourne Cups make a stop in Yamba
WHEN Port of Yamba Historical Society vice president Graeme East began promoting Saturday's visit of not one, but two Melbourne Cups to the Yamba Museum, the hardest thing he had to do was convince people they were the real deal.
Everyone at the museum on Saturday had no doubts about the authenticity of not just the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup, but also the historic 1919 Melbourne Cup, which was the beginning of a 100-year tradition and has a special connection to the Clarence Valley.
The arrival of the 1919 Melbourne Cup to the Clarence Valley signals a special connection the region has to the race that stops the nation.
When the cup was first run in 1861 up until 1919, the winner received a different prize each year, ranging from tea sets to candelabra and cutlery sets.
The 1919 Melbourne Cup was the first race where a gold trophey was presented, with its signature three-handled "Loving Cup" design that had one handle each for the trainer, jockey and owner of the winning horse.
In 1919, the very first three-handled Melbourne Cup was won by Artilleryman, owned by Sir Samuel Hordern, the then-owner of Yulgilbar Station near Grafton.
The property is now under the ownership of his granddaughter Sarah and her husband Baillieu Myer AC, and Mr East suspects they had something to do with Yamba being chosen to host the 100-year reunion of Melbourne Cups.
"Sarah and Baillieu attended an exhibition we had here recently on the Women of Yulgilbar, which was quite a privilege," Mr East said.
"I think we impressed the right people, because after that we were chosen to be a part of the Victorian Racing Club's Lexus Melbourne Cup tour."
Mr East said he was thrilled the museum could host an iconic piece of Australian racing, and thanked everyone that made the trip possible.
VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott said it was exciting to be in the Clarence Valley, a place that had such a strong connection to the Melbourne Cup.
"Since it was first designed 100 years ago, the three-handled trophy has become the most iconic and recognisable trophy in Australian sport," Mrs Elliott said.
"It's exciting to be sharing the century-old Cup and the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup with the tight-knit community in Grafton, particularly with its strong links to the 1919 Cup hero Artilleryman."