Melbourne Cup coming to Howlong

It will be The Melbourne Cup in Howlong in October and the town’s golf resort staff Shaun Whitechurch and Alannah Cusac are elated about the news!

Howlong – the town which has had the longest horse ever in Australia and maybe the world – will host the Melbourne Cup on Caulfield Day, Saturday, October 15.

After receiving a record-breaking number of applications, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) has announced Howlong will play host to the milestone 20th annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.

This year’s milestone 20th edition will be unlike any other, visiting a total of 33 destinations across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, with a number of Lexus Melbourne Cup heroes set to join the Cup on its journey.

“To say that I am shocked – but absolutely delighted – to be selected with a record number of entries and to be one of 33 regional towns in Australia is an understatement,” Howlong Golf Resort General Manager Shaun Whitechuch told The Free Press.

“But obviously our application was one of the better ones. We’ll have a family day culture, with sweeps, festivities and a golf day and a sports night Saturday – the community will love it.”

At least 90 applications were received to host the Cup. Howlong Golf Resort Operations Manager Ms Alannah Cusac said the club is very much looking forward to being part of this year’s tour.

“We are very excited to welcome the Cup to Howlong when it visits on tour in October,” she said.

“We look forward to coming together as a community and giving everyone a chance to see the Melbourne Cup trophy up close and personal.”

Since the tour’s inception in 2003, the three-handled Cup has travelled far and wide across Australia and the world, travelling over 760,000 kilometres, visiting more than 560 destinations and engaging with tens of thousands of people.

Howlong will also be part of the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour National Sweep, which will see 24 rural and regional Cup Tour destinations across Australia be allocated a barrier for the 2022 Lexus Melbourne Cup.

The town which draws the barrier of the Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning horse will be presented with a cash prize of $50,000 to put towards a nominated charity for a local initiative.

VRC Chairman Neil Wilson said the club was looking forward to sharing the magic of the Cup with people across Australia.

“The Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour gives us an opportunity to share the magic of the Cup with people across the nation and the world,” Mr Wilson said.

“The Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour has only continued to grow in popularity, with a record-breaking number of applications from towns and communities for its milestone 20th edition.

“We are humbled by the excitement and joy the Cup brings to people of all ages and backgrounds and are pleased to be taking the iconic trophy back on the road and sharing it with the nation again after restricted travel over the past two years.”

Other destinations for the Melbourne Cup area: Victoria – Melbourne, Portarlington, Yea, Echuca/Moama, Stanhope, Maffra, Seaspray; New South Wales – Sydney, Tullibigeal, Dirnaseer, Junee, Coolamon, Curban, Central Western Slopes, Wauchope, Howlong; South Australia: Adelaide, Wallaroo Western Australia – Perth, Wagin, Newman (The Pilbara)

Tasmania – Hobart, Devonport/Meander Valley; Queensland – Brisbane, Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Warwick, Allora, Gold Coast, Kandanga.

International – Auckland (NZ), Cambridge (NZ), Singapore

Tour destinations will be supported by the VRC to plan and host a range of memorable community events during the Cup’s visit.

But Howlong Country Golf Resort management are already in planning mode! “We will be teaming with Howlong Progress Association moving forward,” Mr Whitechurch advised.

The longest horse race

Nearly 150 years ago, in 1873 at the Howlong race course (taken over by Howlong golf course), a horse race of a novel character occurred. The following account explains the background to, and the running of, Australia’s longest horse race, known as the Historia 100 mile horse race at Howlong, 1873.

“It arose out of a dispute between brothers Jack and Tom Everitt, concerning the stamina of two horses, Viking and John Sullivan.