Chief executive officer of Ballina Jockey Club Sarah Wills with clerk of the course Ellisha Leonard, aboard Paint, and the 2009 version of the Byron Bay Cup.
Chief executive officer of Ballina Jockey Club Sarah Wills with clerk of the course Ellisha Leonard, aboard Paint, and the 2009 version of the Byron Bay Cup. Jay Cronan

Cup's past shrouded in mystery

THE Byron Bay Cup has lived through many a phase.

Once made from pewter, the cup itself has been reincarnated numerous times in stainless steel, imitation gold and cut glass.

But a recent discovery unearthed this old and humble version of the cup with known history dating back to the 1940s.

The materials: a syrup tin, some scrap metal, a block of wood, a piece of cardboard and a length of dowel to hold it all together.

No records can be found to explain better the history of the cup or the race, so whether it is the original Byron Bay Cup remains a mystery.

For decades, Murwillumbah butcher Peter Smith saw the old relic sitting on his grandparent’s mantelpiece.

Just recently he decided to give it a permanent home at the Ballina Jockey Club which this year hosts the Byron Bay Cup meeting on August 29.

“The Cup had just been in storage at Gran’s house for years,” Mr Smith said.

“It was one of the last things to come out of her house (when she moved). I thought it deserved to have its rightful place at Ballina.

“It’s no Melbourne Cup but it is the trophy of the race.”



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