Cup visit proves sure winner
Pilbara residents got up close and personal with one of the most famous trophies in Australian sporting history on Friday when the Emirates Melbourne Cup spent a day in Roebourne, Cossack and Karratha.
As part of its 150th anniversary celebrations, Roebourne’s Nor West Jockey Club hosted the 18-carat gold trophy as one of 31 stops on its 2017 tour around Australia and New Zealand.
Travelling with ambassador and long-term Melbourne Cup race caller Bryan Martin, the cup began its day with a photo shoot at Karratha’s newly upgraded Tank Hill lookout, where it was joined by its local counterpart, the Roebourne Cup.
People had the chance to get their own picture with the trophy at the Roebourne racecourse before it was taken to Settlers Beach in Cossack — the site of the first Roebourne horse races in the 1860s — and then Onyx on Sharpe for a function for sponsors and guests.
NWJC president Kevin Kininmonth said the cup’s visit provided a special opportunity to acknowledge the club’s historic 150th year and promote the Ladies’ Day race meet the next day.
“I think (it’s significant) because it’s such a special icon of Australia,” he said.
“As they say Australia stops for the Melbourne Cup and it’s just the significance of that, and that it’s a part of Australian history and folklore.”
“I just think it’s great for the City of Karratha to have it here and at the Roebourne races too.”
Martin said as the “people’s trophy” and a symbol of a race that captured the attention of people across the country, the cup always had strong drawing power.
“Whether you take it to an aged-care centre, to a kindergarten, to a school, to a community centre or to a race meeting — it doesn’t matter where you go, everyone wants to hold it, everyone wants to have a piece of it,” he said.
“The race is called the people’s race, the race that stops the nation, so to have people involved and hold this iconic trophy is just special.”
“This is the symbol of what it’s all about.”
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said it was exciting to have the cup spend a day in the area
“It’s such an icon for Australia ... so to have that cup which is worth $200,000 in your hands here in Karratha is quite a remarkable experience,” he said.
“It’s something that’s so famous and it’s so important to Australia, so to have it here in Karratha is just terrific.”
Roebourne was one of only three locations in WA to host the Melbourne Cup on this year’s tour, along with Perth and Kununurra.
The cup has previously visited Karratha in 2015 and 2009.
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