Cup to canter into town
Manawatu has ‘‘won’’ the Emirates Melbourne Cup, and Palmerston North hospital patients in particular can bet that ‘‘their cup will runneth over’’.
On its 34-stop tour of Australasia, only a trifecta of New Zealand centres have ‘‘brought the Cup home’’, with Manawatu joining Auckland and Hawkes Bay as temporary hosts of the exclusive $175,000 trophy.
The successful destinations were selected on the basis of their passion for racing, historical links to the Melbourne Cup and dedication to the community.
On display in Palmerston North and Feilding on July 21, the 18-carat gold cup, and pride of southern hemisphere horse racing, has been made using gold mined in New South Wales.
Victoria Racing Club chief executive Simon Love says Manawatu was selected because Palmerston North’s Racing at Awapuni Combined Enterprise (RACE), had presented a schedule of ‘‘activities for the entire community to enjoy while the Cup is in town’’.
RACE chief executive Alasdair Robertson reckons the galloping visit is going to provide an ‘‘unforgettable experience’’ and ‘‘a unique opportunity to celebrate our region’s rich racing history’’.
‘‘Two Melbourne Cup winners, Hi Jinx and Silver Knight have been trained at our Awapuni venue, and hosting the Cup is a great opportunity to tell their stories again.’’
The Cup will be displayed in the morning at Te Manawa, before being ‘‘guest of honour’’ at Hokowhitu’s The Fat Farmer for a charity luncheon to raise funds for new dialysis equipment.
After the meal, it will be escorted through Palmerston North Hospital wards, and from 6pm to 7pm, can be viewed at The Strong Room in Feilding.
‘‘Everyone can go to that, and have photos with it, and with the kids.’’
The event would help generate public interest and momentum for the great November horse race, a planned Gold Cup racing festival in Palmerston North in April next year, and redevelopments planned for the Awapuni racecourse, says RACE marketing manager Mel Treweek.
The Emirates Melbourne Cup is paying Palmerston North a flying visit next month.