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THE Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour will this year celebrate a 15-year milestone, with the trophy set to visit more than 30 destinations in its annual trek across Australia and New Zealand.
To ensure local communities have an opportunity to secure a visit from the 18-carat gold Cup in this milestone year, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) will open the tender process early for the 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour with submissions now being accepted.
Since 2003, the revered Melbourne Cup has travelled more than 456,000 kilometers to rural, regional and metropolitan communities across Australia and New Zealand.
"The VRC created the concept of the Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour with the aim to provide communities without easy geographical access to the Melbourne Cup an opportunity to experience the magic of the trophy first-hand," said VRC Chief Executive Simon Love.
"We never dreamed that the Tour would evolve into such a significant community event, which 15 years later, continues to grow in popularity.
In 2016, the $175,000 gold trophy toured 34 destinations, providing schools, councils, hospitals, aged-care facilities and racing clubs with a unique opportunity to host a day of community events and raise valuable funds for local causes.
While the winner of the first Melbourne Cup in 1861 received a gold watch, today's three handled 'loving cup' is made from 44 pieces of hand-beaten gold sourced from West Wyalong in NSW, and crafted over 200 hours by ABC Bullion.
The 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour welcomes submissions from community groups, councils and racing bodies in rural and regional areas as well as capital cities, with successful destinations to be announced in June.
Each host destination selected makes a commitment to provide memorable and engaging community events involving the Cup for everyone to enjoy. Local fundraising initiatives will also be supported.
The Tour officially commences in July 2017, before the Cup returns to Melbourne for the running of the 157th Emirates Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November.
Tenders to be submitted at melbournecuptour.com.au by 5pm (AEST) on Monday 3 April.