Susan and Keith Hall — 27 October 2012

YOU HAVE TO FEEL sorry for punters, as the Melbourne Cup comes around just once a year. It’s a different story for travellers, however. There are many places in Australia that have links to the Melbourne Cup. You can visit them all year round, and you won’t risk losing your shirt to the bookies.

Cup winner in Rosedale, Vic

In the main street of the picturesque Gippsland town of Rosedale there is a dramatic statue of a race horse and jockey. It celebrates local horse Patrobas, which won the Melbourne Cup in 1915. Patrobas belonged to Mrs Edith Widdis, who became the first woman to own a Melbourne Cup winner. The horse also won the Caulfield Guineas and the Derby in 1915, a feat that has never been repeated.

Historic sweep in Darwin, NT

In the Star Arcade in central Darwin there are displays commemorating the old Star Theatre, which was on this site until it was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy. The Tomaris Sweep was held at the theatre for the Melbourne Cup every year from 1934 to 1973, and a historic board in the arcade still lists all the sweep winners.

Horseman poet in Ballarat, Vic

In Sturt Street, the main street of Ballarat, there is a bronze statue of a proud horse. A plaque on the supporting plinth honours Australian poet Adam Lindsay Gordon, who was renowned for his horsemanship. He set a record by winning three steeplechases at Flemington in one afternoon, and even wrote a poem about the Melbourne Cup.

Horse Sculpture in Scone, NSW

The upper Hunter Valley town of Scone calls itself the Horse Capital of Australia, since it holds the annual Scone Horse Festival. There are horse sculptures scattered along the main street, including the famous Mare and Foal statue. One of the sculptures depicts a racehorse, and on the edge of town there is even a Makybe Diva Street.

Victorious retirees in Melbourne, Vic

If you want to see some real champions, head for Living Legends at Woodlands Park, on the northern edge of Melbourne. This is an international retirement home for champion racehorses. It’s open seven days a week, and visitors can take
a tour to meet the retired champions.

WORDS AND PICS Susan and Keith Hall

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