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Coveted Melbourne Cup races into town

RACING FEVER: Victoria Racing Club spokesperson Andrew Lemon speaks to the public at SCU in LIsmore about the Melbourne Cup.
RACING FEVER: Victoria Racing Club spokesperson Andrew Lemon speaks to the public at SCU in LIsmore about the Melbourne Cup. Marc Stapelberg

ACCOMPANIED by its own suited security guard, the $175,000 Melbourne Cup passed through Lismore yesterday.

Ambassador John Marshall, who won the cup in 1999 while riding the Bart Cummings-trained Rogan Josh, came along for the ride, with Victoria Racing Club historian Andrew Lemon also in tow.

Mr Marshall was proud to take part in the tour and said he felt privileged to compete in the Melbourne Cup 15 years ago, let alone win.

"Winning the Emirates Melbourne Cup in 1999 was certainly the highlight (of my career), without a doubt," he said.

"Every jockey growing up, every apprentice, their dream is to ride in the Melbourne Cup, let alone win one. So it did take me 10 attempts over the years to try and win such an Australian piece of history, and become a piece of history."

The Melbourne Cup Tour began with a welcome at Spinks Park by Mayor Jenny Dowell, which featured a morning tea hosted by the Country Women's Association and performance by the Roundabout Theatre Co.

Following the warm welcome, the cup did the rounds of Caroona Jarman Hostel, Trinity Catholic College and Southern Cross University, before a Cancer Council gala fundraiser at Lismore Turf Club in the evening.

Attendees at the Southern Cross stop-off lined up to rub the revered cup, while tech-savvy students snapped a selfie or two.

Mr Lemon believes the Melbourne Cup holds a special place in modern Australian culture - even among those who don't know the difference between a strapper and a stayer.

"The trophy represents a lot of stories that have been written over the years and told about the Melbourne Cup," he said.

"The Victorian Racing Club has, I think, a responsibility to share this big event. Melbourne Cup is not just a horse race - it's a part of Australian culture..."

The Melbourne Cup will be held at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, on November 4.



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