Melbourne Cup winner Wendy Green checks the form at the Australian Hotel with punter Don Davidson yesterday.
Melbourne Cup winner Wendy Green checks the form at the Australian Hotel with punter Don Davidson yesterday. Craig Warhurst

Camel riders step up for Cup day

AS this year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup jockeys get their hearts started, ready to mount up today, more than one heart will be fluttering here in Gympie as locals get ready to climb onto camels.

The annual Gympie Melbourne Cup Camel Races kick off from 10am at the Gympie Turf Club and there will be a strong field of local celebrities all drawing a line in the, err sand, with their desert ships.

But cup day isn’t just about racing camels and Gympie’s Wendy Green proves that winning a Melbourne Cup can change your life.

The new author and Melbourne Cup ambassador launched her book Wendy in Wonderland last month after Bart Cummings asked her to hold off for a year.

“In Bart’s book there is a chapter called Wonderland, which is the story of our Melbourne Cup,” Mrs Green said from the Aussie Hotel – her local – yesterday.

She’s on a high after a whirlwind trip to Melbourne on the weekend speaking at corporate cup events and attending Saturday’s derby.

Where she said the fashion tip was gumboots and clear plastic raincoats and she could have sold 500 copies of the book she launched from Flemington.

“I wrote the book for him (Rogan Josh – her Bart Cummings trained horse that rode to cup victory in 1999).”

“It’s a social expose on how Australians identify as Australians through symbols like the Melbourne Cup. It starts in 1942 and explains how it’s never predictable, who may win.”

Mrs Green is now a corporate speaker and has been approached to speak on cruise ships.

But “I’m first and foremost a teacher,” she admitted.

“It’s the cup that keeps on giving.”

With the chance to stay in Melbourne for cup day Mrs Green said she wanted to come back as Gympie was home.

She will sign copies of Wendy in Wonderland this afternoon at Angus and Robertson at Goldfields Plaza.

Celebrity riders taking part in the race six Calcutta at Gympie today may also be in for a life changing experience.

Riders include Sue Topalov — champion camel jockey; Cr Graham Engeman; Member for Gympie David Gibson; Merv Welch — turf club fashion commentator; David Guy — riding for Little Haven Palliative Care; Edgar Bruce — riding for J Smith and Sons and Sharon Turner — riding for The Gympie Times.

Gympie Times


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