Melbourne Cup to race into Gympie
THE magic of the race that stops a nation, the iconic Melbourne Cup, is about to cast its spell over Gympie.
Gympie has been selected as one of a series of destinations for the Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour come early August.
The Holy Grail of horse racing, the cup is also coming to destinations like Noosa, Cairns and Brisbane, in a year when the tour celebrates 10 years of spreading the excitement of the Melbourne Cup nationally.
Gympie Turf Club president Spencer Slatter said the cup's Gympie visit would be a special occasion throughout the region.
As a tour destination, Gympie Melbourne Cup enthusiasts will be able to lock eyes on the coveted Melbourne Cup.
Victoria Racing Club chairman Michael Burn was full of anticipation following the announcement of Gympie as a stopover.
Mr Burn said the tour highlighted community spirits and the grassroots support for the thrill of racing.
"Continuing to grow in appeal annually and reaching the tour's tenth year is a significant milestone," he said.
"It's a testament to the program and reinforces the appeal the illustrious race has that stretches far beyond Flemington Racecourse."
The tour gallops into Gympie on Wednesday, August 8, before departing for Noosa on Friday, August 10. A host of activities are planned to celebrate the tour's arrival.
"The cup will arrive in Gympie about lunchtime on August 8, and depart about the same time the next day," Mr Slatter said yesterday.
"It's a busy program, with visits to a number of schools in the afternoon as well as to Cooinda Aged Care Centre and a public showing at Centro shopping centre.
"In the evening Little Haven will have a Melbourne Cup on Tour dinner at the Civic Centre.
"Thursday will see an early return to the racetrack with a big breakfast event, featuring barrier trials, probably about six short races.
"After the trackside breakfast, the cup will travel the traditional way to the Mary Valley, on the Mary Valley Heritage Rail.
"It will visit Mary Valley towns and schools," he said.
When the dust settles on the Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour, the scene will be well and truly set for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, November 6.
The Cup will be accompanied by still-unnamed ambassadors, "probably some winning owners and jockeys," he said.