The Melbourne Cup held by Crowley resident Aileen Larkin (centre), three-time winning jockey Jim Johnson (left), and Crowley CEO Michael Penhey.
The Melbourne Cup held by Crowley resident Aileen Larkin (centre), three-time winning jockey Jim Johnson (left), and Crowley CEO Michael Penhey.

Crowley stops for 'The Cup'

THE MELBOURNE Cup is very heavy, according to Sister Aileen Larkin, who gave her age as '80 and a bit'.

A resident of Crowley in Ballina, Sr Larkin was one of the 100 guests clamouring to touch the cup at the Melbourne Cup Tour at Crowley aged care facility yesterday.

“I couldn't get over the weight of it,” Sr Larkin said.

The Melbourne Cup weighs just less than three kilograms, Victorian Racing Club ambassador Bonnie Connellan said. She wore white gloves as she showed the cup to the crowd at Crowley. She had all the vital facts.

“The cup is made up of 34 pieces and is 18 carat gold. It cost $125,000. A new one is made each year in Brisbane and it takes six weeks,” she said.

Three-time Melbourne Cup winner, jockey Jim Johnson, 80, was on hand to talk about his racing experiences.

Most people wanted to talk about how he crossed the finishing line first in 1963, 1968 and 1969.

Being a jockey, he said, was about quick thinking, being the right weight, and loving your horse.

“Tobin Bronze was the horse I loved most of all. He was a good-natured horse,” he said.

Sr Larkin, who was born in Murwillumbah and lived in Casino, had her own Melbourne Cup tale to tell.

A relative of her mother was a strapper and he walked from Nowra to Melbourne with the horse Archer. It was a long way but well worth it when Archer went on to win the first Melbourne Cup in 1861.

This year Cup Day is on November 3 and Ms Larkin will be placing a bet on the day.

“I won't go over $5,” she said.

Chief executive Michael Penhey said the residents had so much history with the cup.

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and touch the cup,” he said.

The Melbourne Cup Tour stopped at Ballina Jockey Club on Sunday morning, then to Crowley before heading to the Bangalow Hotel.

Ballina Jockey Club chief executive Sarah Wills organised for the cup tour to visit the North Coast. The cup returns to Victoria after its five-day tour.



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