Melbourne Cup to make tour stopover at Wingatui

The best known trophy in Australasian horse racing is coming to town. Photo: Getty Images
The best known trophy in Australasian horse racing is coming to town. Photo: Getty Images
The Melbourne Cup is coming back to Wingatui nearly 40 years after Baghdad Note ploughed through a rain-soaked Flemington track to send cheers ringing out across the Taieri plain.

The Otago Racing Club have beaten a line-up of clubs keen to get the roadshow for "the race that stops two nations" to stop at its home patch.

The best known trophy in Australasian horse racing is to go on a promotional tour that will span more than 600,000km and more than 450 towns and cities across Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, China and Singapore.

The Melbourne Cup will make three stops in New Zealand at Wingatui, Matamata and Wellington.

The celebrated trophy, which some of world's best staying thoroughbreds will compete for on the second Tuesday in November, will arrive in Otago in late August for two days.

The Melbourne Cup will arrive just over three months short of 39 years since Wingatui galloper Baghdad Note slogged through a sodden Flemington track to send the trophy to Dunedin with trainer Bob Heasley and rider Midge Didham.

It is that link that made securing the Wingatui stop on the Melbourne Cup tour special, Otago Racing Club president Ray Kean said.

"It is very exciting - it is something that is unique to this part of the country.

"Wingatui does have a distinctive relationship with Baghdad Note being trained here."

The Otago Racing Club plans to make the most of having the Melbourne Cup, which will be raced for with an $A8million ($NZ8.4million) prize pool, at its headquarters later this year.

The trophy will be shown off at the Otago Racing Awards and at a function that involves White Robe Lodge.

The public will have the opportunity view the Melbourne Cup and get photographs with it when it is displayed at Wingatui.

"We really want to make it something special for the community," Kean said.

"The public can come and get involved and see it and get their photo with it.

"Anything we can do to promote racing is good and the awards night will be something pretty special."

Kean credited general manager Rebecca Adlam for being the driving force behind the clubbeating its fellow clubs to secure its place on the tour.


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