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Ballan strikes gold

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Ballan Jockey Club President Billy Smith with Catherine Moon
Ballan Jockey Club President Billy Smith with Catherine Moon and the actual Melbourne Cup that will visit Ballan as part of the Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour on October 11. Photo – Helen Tatchell

By Helen Tatchell 

The sport of king’s holy grail is coming to Ballan.

Worth close to $200,000, the iconic 18-carat gold 2017 Melbourne Cup will visit the number three town on the Emirates Melbourne Cup tour list, just one of 31 destinations throughout Australasia.

The Victorian Racing Club (VRC) announcement came at an official launch last week at the Macedon training property of five-time winning Melbourne Cup owner Lloyd Williams. Just a Dash brought home the first Cup in 1985 for Mr Williams and Almandin, won by a nose in a thrilling finish in 2016.

Ballan Jockey Club committee put in their submission to be part of the tour and were successful; selected for their passion for racing and community spirit.

President Billy Smith said it was an exciting time for not just the Club, but the town of Ballan and the shire.

“There is hardly a person in Australia that has not heard of the Melbourne Cup and this tour takes in Ballan on its journey throughout the country and New Zealand.

“This is a real coup for the community to have such a fine piece of racing history displayed in our town and a compliment to the Jockey Club that has been involved in the racing industry for over 150-years,” Mr Smith said.

Information from the Ballan Shire Historical Society boasts three Melbourne Cup winners from the 1800s, that called Moorabool home.

The first winner in the district was Malua, 1884, owned by Mr J.O. Inglis from Ingliston.

Two other Melbourne Cup winning horses resided at the historic Ballark property, just south of Ballan. Mentor, 1888, was bred at Ballark, home of Mr Donald Wallace and one of the greatest Melbourne Cup winners, Carbine, 1890, also owned by Mr Wallace. Carbine carried 10st 5lbs (65.7kgs) in a record time, beating 38 other runners and ran second in the 1889 Cup.

The Ballan Jockey Club has a committee of volunteers and holds an annual Cup at Geelong racecourse in November, with all the glitz and glamour as their city counterparts. This year the cup will be held on Saturday 11 November. Catherine Moon can be contacted on 0409 007 913 for dining packages, marquees and fashions on the field information.

The Melbourne Cup tour will begin on July 1 and visit Ballan on Wednesday 11 October. The Club will provide the community an opportunity to come together and experience the magic of the Melbourne Cup. Further details will be released in coming months.