Bunyip in regional Victoria is $50,000 richer on Wednesday after Vow and Declare won the 159th Lexus Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
Bunyip drew barrier 21 in the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour National Sweep and became the inaugural winner when the Danny O’Brien-trained stayer became the first Australian horse to win the Melbourne Cup since Shocking in 2009.
The Cup visited Bunyip on Tour in October to lift community spirits following the devastating March bushfires.
While on Tour, the iconic trophy visited students at Bunyip Primary School, stopped in for morning tea at Hillview Aged Care and attended a community fundraiser at the local football oval to raise money for those affected by the fires.
Despite initial scepticism after drawing such a wide barrier in the sweep, the community’s hopes were boosted when Vow and Declare drew barrier 21 at the Lexus Melbourne Cup Barrier Draw on Saturday evening.
Bunyip locals Brad and Sam Walker were present at the barrier draw and watched the race from the Mounting Yard.
“He had to work hard to get across at the start then Craig rode so well. At the end we thought he was done and he came through with the goods like a true Aussie. We are just so thrilled,” Mr Walker said.
The $50,000 will go towards Bunyip and District Community House, a not-for-profit community organisation overseen by a skills-based committee of volunteers. The Community House is managed by dedicated staff committed to provide affordable quality programs for the development of individuals in the community.
Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson congratulated the community of Bunyip.
“The VRC is proud to present the community of Bunyip with $50,000 to put towards the community initiative Bunyip and District Community House.”
The National Sweep is an exciting new initiative which saw 24 rural and regional Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour destinations across Australia allocated a starting gate for ‘the race that stops a nation’™, the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup.
The town which drew the barrier of the Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning horse would receive $50,000 to put towards a charity supporting a local community initiative.
Those wishing to express their interest for the 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour can visit melbournecuptour.com.au for further detail.
Vow And Declare and Craig Williams (orange and white) winning the Group 1 Lexus Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, picture Quentinjlang.com