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Local News

Melbourne Cup Coming To Townsville, Ayr & Bowen

VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott with the Lexus Melbourne Cup

Townsville, Ayr and Bowen will Host the 17th Annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour

The People’s Cup will visit 39 destinations after receiving a record breaking number of applications.

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) announced that Townsville, Ayr and Bowen will join racing history when they play host to the iconic 18-carat gold Lexus Melbourne Cup in 2019.


The Queensland towns were revealed as Tour destinations at a special launch event today at Flemington Racecourse, joining 36 other towns and cities across the globe that will be part of the 17th annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.

The VRC also officially announced the increase in prizemoney for the Lexus Melbourne Cup to $8 million, a record in the 158 year history of Australia’s greatest race.

Townsville Turf Club General Manager Natalie Rintala said being part of the Tour will be an unforgettable experience.

“Townsville is still recovering from the devastating February floods, with racing only resuming in April.

“We are very excited to host the Lexus Melbourne Cup at our TAB Townsville Cup Calcutta and raceday, and give back to a community that has gone through a lot in recent times,” Ms
Rintala said.

Evolution Mining General Manager Mt Carlton Operations Anton Kruger said he is looking forward to hosting the iconic trophy at the Mt Carlton Mine, where the gold used in this year’s
trophy was sourced.

“Evolution is very excited that the Lexus Melbourne Cup is visiting its birthplace, our Mt Carlton Operation, as well as surrounding Whitsunday and Burdekin communities including
Gumlu, Home Hill, Ayr and Bowen.

“Mt Carlton employs over 180 people from our local region and we look forward to celebrating with them and with our partners who helped craft the iconic three-handled

This year’s Tour will also feature an exciting new element, with 24 rural and regional destinations across Australia to be allocated a barrier for the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Townsville, Ayr and Bowen will all be included as national sweep destinations.

Barriers will be drawn at random throughout the Tour and the town which draws the barrier of the Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning horse will be presented with a cash prize of $50,000 to be put towards a charity for a local community initiative.

VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott joined Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Sport Lizzie Blandthorn, Lexus ambassador Megan Gale, 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne and three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Damien Oliver at the launch event on Tuesday.  

In an exciting spectacle for guests, the 1919 Melbourne Cup made a grand entrance alongside the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy, with a century of Australia’s greatest race between them.

This year holds special significance for Australia’s most iconic trophy, with the VRC celebrating 100 years of the renowned three-handled design, first presented to the connections of
Artilleryman in 1919.

The 1919 Melbourne Cup will join the People’s Cup on Tour this year when it visits Grafton, NSW, where the Myer family, custodians of the 1919 trophy, will share the rare artefact with
the community. Grafton is home to Yulgilbar Station, a property formerly owned by 1919 Melbourne Cup-winning owner, Sir Samuel Hordern. The property is now under the ownership
of his granddaughter Sarah and her husband Baillieu Myer AC.

As part of the Cup Tour’s overseas expedition, the trophy will attend the historic Ebor Festival at York Racecourse in the United Kingdom and preview some of the potential 2019 Lexus
Melbourne Cup contenders. The Cup will also travel to Tokyo in Japan to cheer on Australia in the Rugby World Cup.

The coveted trophy will travel far and wide across Australia, including visits to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Blackall in outback Queensland, Perth in Western Australia, Hobart in Tasmania and Bunyip in Victoria.

Three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy and his wife Cathy will also join the VRC stable this year as Cup Tour Ambassadors, travelling back to Kerrin’s hometown of
Streaky Bay in South Australia with their four children to share the Cup with the community, who are campaigning to build a life-size statue of the racing champion to display on the

Fellow triple Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Damien Oliver will accompany the People’s Cup to Perth, visiting his old primary school and catching up with the community.

As it makes its way back to Melbourne for the first Tuesday in November, the 18-carat gold trophy will make a pit stop at the world-famous Ramsay Street as part of a special visit to the set of Neighbours. Cast members Tim Robards and April Rose Pengilly were on hand at Flemington Tuesday to celebrate the exciting inclusion.

Mrs Elliott said this year’s Tour will celebrate the appeal of racing and the iconic Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy with more communities than ever before.

“Since the Tour began in 2003, we have delighted in bringing communities together in the shared history and magic of the Melbourne Cup,” Mrs Elliott said.

“This year is especially significant, with 2019 marking the 100th anniversary of the three-handled Melbourne Cup trophy design.

“To unite the original 1919 Melbourne Cup with the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup today was incredibly special. I thank the Myer family for sharing their 1919 trophy with us all.

“We are also delighted to introduce the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour National Sweep. This exciting initiative will add to the Cup Tour experience for communities across Australia.”
Lexus Australia Chief Executive Scott Thompson said Lexus is privileged to be a key partner in such an important VRC activity.

“Lexus is thrilled to be entering its second year as naming rights sponsor of the Lexus Melbourne Cup, and the 17th year of our relationship with the VRC.

“We see Australia’s most prestigious sporting and social event, the Lexus Melbourne Cup and the Cup Tour, as an opportunity to show you the lengths we go to, to create experiences that inspire and surprise you, which precedes this year’s Making of Amazing.”

Since its beginning, the Tour has travelled more than 600,000 kilometres and visited more than 450 regional, rural and metropolitan destinations. It has provided communities with a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the magic of the Melbourne Cup and hear the many stories connected with Australia’s greatest horse-race.

For further information about the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour please visit