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SA towns vying for $50k Melbourne Cup win

Abbie Tiller

South Aussie’s have a lot riding on today’s Lexus Melbourne Cup, with four SA regions drawing barriers for a chance to win $50,000 to go towards a registered charity or local community initiative.

Part of the Lexus Melbourne Cup tour, which saw the three-handled Cup travel far and wide, visiting more than 590 destinations, engaging with tens of thousands of people and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for local fund-raising initiatives, the $50,000 charity prize could be headed to Balaklava, Kangaroo Island, Port Augusta or Quorn.

Representatives from each of the 24 Australian destinations dialled in virtually to select their barrier, with Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour Ambassador and former Chief Steward, Des Gleeson, also on hand as part of the event, selecting the barriers on the town’s behalf.

So with the barrier’s drawn and the Cup field announced, what are the odds of one of our SA favourites bringing home the $50k?

Balaklava, home to the time-honoured Balaklava Cup, South Australia’s largest annual provincial race meet, has drawn barrier 10, and Race Club official, Les Pearson, says the racing Gods “have not been kind”. If the number 24 French Gelding, True Marvel, manages a shock win, a number of community organisations and families in the region will be celebrating. The cash prize will be distributed between Balaklava Racing Club Community Caterers for upgrades to their kitchen facilities, Balaklava Swimming Pool, Walara Aged Care facility and to the Zerk and Ettridge families, who are both battling cancer journeys with their young children.

Kangaroo Island, the third largest Australian Island, with a population of just 5000, knows all about horse racing and luck. The Kangaroo Island Cup Carnival is an important annual event, so much so it was still held a month after the bushfires and was critical for the healing of the Island.
Locals will be cheering on horse number four from barrier 18. If Japanese horse, Breakup is first over the line, $50,000 will be donated to SA’s Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Port Augusta will also be hoping for a miracle to help out the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Coming out of barrier 20, Irish horse Okita Soushi is coming off an ordinary run at the Caulfield Cup, but Melbourne Cup miracles have been known to happen before!

It could well be the Flinders Ranges town of Quorn celebrating victory, after drawing barrier 9, a horse by the name of Alenquer, ridden by Aussie favourite, Damien Oliver, in his 32nd and final Melbourne Cup ride. Gate 9 has hatched a few Cup winners over the years, but there is some doubt surrounding Alenquer’s fitness and whether a late scratching will be called. If Oliver pulls off a victory, the $50k will also go to the SA Royal Flying Doctor Services.

Victorian Racing Club Chairman, Neil Wilson said the club was looking forward to welcoming the 24 national sweep representatives to Flemington on Lexus Melbourne Cup Day.

“This is the fifth year of the national sweep, and we are delighted to see the $50,000 prize go to meaningful programs in the past four years such as the Royal Flying Doctors in Kangaroo Island, Sunshine in Bendigo and various local initiatives in Bunyip and Gold Coast.

“We can’t wait to congratulate the winning town and see which charity this year’s donation goes towards.”



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