Wagin celebrates visit of Melbourne Cup as part of national tour
It is the Cup that stopped Wagin.
Residents got up close with the most prestigious prize in Australian racing last week, as the 2022 Melbourne Cup made its way to Wagin as part of a three-nation tour ahead of the big race on November 1.
The trophy, valued at $275,000, visited the town on August 17, along with Melbourne Cup Tour ambassador Jim Cassidy, a former jockey who won the race that ‘stops the nation’ in 1983 and again in 1997.
The Cup started its journey at a special assembly at Wagin District High School, where student Oscar Walker helped unveil it to the community for the first time.
It was then taken across the road to the Wagin Uniting Church for a community morning tea.
The Cup was back on the road again that the afternoon, making a stop at the Waratah Lodge aged care facility.
Mr Cassidy shared some of his memories of what was like to prepare for the race.
Mr Cassidy spoke again at the Wagin Historical Village, before the Cup was taken to the Wagin District Club where members were invited to get a picture with the trophy.
The 1997 Perth Cup won by Timeframe was also on display, with Mr Cassidy posing for a picture with Jess McIvor, mother of Timeframe owner Angela Smith.
The Wagin leg of the tour concluded with a function at the Palace Hotel, where Victoria Racing Club representative Joe McGrath ran a Q&A session with Mr Cassidy, drawing the biggest crowd of the day.
A special presentation was made by the Victoria Racing Club to the town, with Shire President Phil Blight receiving a small replica of the Melbourne Cup trophy on behalf of the council.
Mr Blight described the presentation as a “fantastic moment”.
“I did not expect it,” Mr Blight said.
“We will make sure we put in a pride of place somewhere in the Shire offices.”
Mr Blight said he enjoyed the Cup visit.
“Even for a non-racing person like myself, it was terrific,” he said.
“My highlight was talking to Jim Cassidy and learning a bit more about the event.”
VRC chairman Neil Wilson said the Melbourne Cup Tour continued to grow in popularity.
“The tour gives us an opportunity to share the magic of the Cup with people across the nation and the world,” he said.
“We are pleased to be taking the iconic trophy back on the road and sharing it with the nation again after restricted travel over the past two years.”
As part of the tour, Wagin will also take part in this year’s Melbourne Cup National Sweep, in which the town is given a barrier at this year’s race.
If the horse in Wagin’s barrier wins, the VRC will donate $50,000 to the St John Wagin sub-centre for the purchase of a new ambulance.
In total, the Cup will visit 33 destinations in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore as part of this year’s tour.
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