Cup runneth over
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE most famous trophy in racing is in Coffs Harbour and everyone is invited to get up close and have a good look at it.
As part of the 2007 Melbourne Cup tour, Park Beach Plaza is expecting a large crowd this morning as the 18 carat Gold Cup makes it's tour around the country before returning to Melbourne in time for the famous race to be held on the first Tuesday in November.
Coffs Harbour Racing Club chairman Alan Johnson admits that he can't wait to get a close look at the Melbourne Cup.
"It's as close as I'll ever get to lifting it up as an owner," he joked.
An added bonus to the arrival of Australasian racing's most renowned trophy will be the appearance of jockey Greg Hall.
Hall is a winner of the Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide Cups but it was in 1992 that the laidback jockey's name was written into racing immortality when he rode Subzero to victory in that year's race that stops a nation on a cold and wet Melbourne day.
The mystique of the trophy and the excitement that so many in the area are feeling about its arrival on the Coffs Coast can be traced to the fact that the Melbourne Cup is renowned for lifting the hearts of the common man classically such as during the depression of the last century with Phar Lap arguably its greatest winner and representative of the 'aussie battler'.
Today's tour will begin at Park Beach Plaza where Coffs Harbour Mayor, Cr. Keith Rhodes will formally welcome the official party before members of the public will be given the opportunity to see the famous three-handled trophy and have photos taken.
There will also be giveaways from the Victorian Racing Club which has organised the tour.
From there, security will ensure the Melbourne Cup safely makes its way to the Coffs Harbour Racing Club for a special luncheon which includes a charity memorabilia auction supporting Southern Cross LADS aiming to establish a permanent driving skills complex for our youth on the North Coast.
The Racing Club in recent years has associated itself with several leading charities as it endeavours to assist local community projects.
With the North Coast of NSW suffering unusually large levels of young driver fatalities on the infamous Pacific Highway, this not for profit group has been established to set up long term driving skill education programs for the youth of the region from Port Macquarie to Lismore.
"It is a huge buzz and something that the 'bushie' people don't usually get access to, so it's a great thing for the Victorian Racing Club to promote it up in this area," Johnson added.