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V.R.C. CENTENARY

# The V.R,C. Centenary Melbourne Cup Carnival this year celebrates the hundredth anniversary of the race that halts a nation. It provides four exciting, sparkling

days and the richest race in Australian history.

FLEMINGTON'S Saddling Paddock, where thousands throng to catch a glimpse of the horses in the final parade before a race. Top left: Grey toppers and morning suits are still part of the scene at Cup time.

THE carnival carries £94,100 prizemoney -

£32,000 more than last year's Cup meeting. It opens with the Derby at Flemington on October 29, then the Melbourne Cup on November 1, the Oaks on November 3, and a final "Public Festival Day"

on November 5.

Melbourne will be decked in its best-city streets festooned with lights, office buildings a blaze of window-boxes - and Flemington will have a prettier than ever spring facelift.

On Cup Day eight massed Highland bands will pipe the Governor-General, Lord Dunrossil, down the straight to the strains of "Scotland the Brave." The Southern Command

Military Band will herald his arrival with the National

Anthem.

As he loaves the course the Highland bands will pipe him up the straight with "Will Ye No Come Back Again?"

Meantime, for a little more than three minutes, millions of Australians will have seen or heard the 1960 Melbourne Cup.

The Melbourne Cup has seen fortunes won and lost, gallant horses beaten and game horses victorious against big odds, favorites the losers and despised outsiders thc victors, dreams

come rue and dreams become will-o'-the-wisos.

It also has seen a jockey killed and other jockeys made for life, countless thousands spent in unsuccessful efforts to breed the winner, and a first-past-the-post horse bought for little

more than £100.

In Archer's day, 100 years ago, prizemoney was £710, and it was "winner take all," the attendance totalled 400, and the race was put on by the Victoria Turf Club.

For the Centenary Cup the first-prize money will be £18,000, pills a gold cup valued at £750. Second past the post will win £4000,^hird £2000, and fourth £1000.

Attendance is expected to be at least 120,000. And the race will be put on by the Victoria Racing Club, as it has been since the Club took it over from the V.T.C. in 1864.

When Archer won, the race was run on a Thursday, lt wasn't until 1875 that the first Tuesday in November was de- clared sacred to the Melbourne Cup.

When Archer won, the big race didn't rate a public holiday.

It wasn't until 1865 it achieved this distinction.

Only three women owners have had the thrill of vanning the Melbourne Cup-Mrs. E. A. Widdis with Patrobas in 1915, Mrs. A. Jamieson with Catalogue, 1938, and Mrs. J. J. Kitson with Skipton, 1941.

But women stand a chance of bettering their record in the Centenary Cup. They make up nearly 25 per cent, of the

owners or part-owners of the 458 entries.

Among them are Lady Luxton, Lady Clarke, Mrs. W. M. Kellett, Mrs. Norman Petch, Miss Ann Raymond, daughter of V.R.C. committeeman Mr. H. G. Raymond, Mrs. T. J. Smith, wife of the Sydney trainer, and Mrs. Tony Lopes, wife

of a Melbourne trainer.

Only twice has the Cup been postponed, both times because of rain. First postponement was in 1870-Nimblefoot's year and the second in 1916, when Sasanof was the winner.

Nimblefoot was one of the' "dream" winners, but a dream winner with a sad significance.

He was owned by W. Craig, a well-known Ballarat hotel keeper, who dreamed he would win the Cup, but that his jockey would be wearing a crepe armband.

Slack, one of the biggest doubles bookies of the day, to whom, among others, Craig related his dream, offered to lay him £1000 to eight drinks that a horse called Croydon would not win the A.J.C. Metropolitan »nd that his dream would

not come true.

The wager was booked and, according to a racing writer of the day, "the drinks were consumed in advance."

But the double came off. Croydon won the Metropolitan and Nimblefoot the Cup with his jockey wearing the crepe armband for Mr. Craig, who died before the race was run.

To page 18

V.R.C. Centenary

(Continued from page 17)

There is a happier postscript

to this tale.

By Craig's death Slack was released from all liability in regard to the bet, but he paid Craig's widow £500.

Another "dream" win was that of Melbourne man George Dickenson.

Some months before the 1936 Cup he dreamed that New Zealander Wotan would win thc two-mile race. Wotan did, at 100 to 1, and made this lucky dreamer richer by many thousands of pounds.

Wotan, who won only one small race in New Zealand after his Cup victory, was a "revenge" horse as well as a dream horse and one of the Cup's three 100 to 1 winners the others were The Pearl in 1871 and Old Rowley, 1940.

He was owned by the New Zealand brothers, T. A. W. and R. Smith. They felt they had been "done down" by a Melbourne bookie when, four years before, they brought to Australia Gaine Carrington and Peter Jackson, who were out of the same mare, Left, as

Wotan.

And they certainly had the last laugh. They cleaned up in a very big way.

Bargains

Wotan was also a bargain horse. The brothers bought his mother during the depres- sions years for 37.] guineas with Peter Jackson at foot and in foal with Gaine Carring-

ton.

Another cheap Cup horse was Spearfelt, winner in 1926.

He was bought by Doug Grant, then a clerk with a big wool firm, and trainer Vin O'Neill for 120 guineas with- out their knowing he was a "poddy" foal. His mother was killed on a boat trip be- tween Melbourne and Sydney when he was onlv ten davs old.

Spearfelt not only did his owners proud. He won £20,000 for a 23-year-old Victorian postmistress in Tatt's first big Cup sweep.

Violet Irene Moore, post- mistress at Dingee, a little town north of Bendigo, was so excited by her win that after Spearfelt returned to his stall she rushed across and kissed him.

Miss Moore is now Mrs. Mervvn Hawks, nf Malwala

Station, Malwala, N.S.W. - and she will certainly bc down for thc Centenary Cup.

Spearfelt was a great grandson of the 1890 Cup

winne;. Carbine.

Carbine still comes up in annual Cup-time arguments whether he was the greatest of the greats, or whether more modern greats like Windbag, Spearfelt, Phar Lap, and Peter

Pan would have left him standing.

Phar Lap's 1930 victory was preceded by an attempt to shoot him. He was whisked away to St. Alban s Stud, near Geelong, and brought to the course under police escort. Peter Pan won in 1934, fet- lock deeo in mud and carry- ing 9st. 101b.

Another famous bargain winner was Windbag in 1925.

But against these lucky owners with their inexpensive Cup buys are men who sank thousands into trying to breed a Cup winner without success.

Most tragic bad-luck story about the Cup is that of joc- key George Dodd, who was on

Wheat Ear in 1881.

As a hobby he bred Dalma- tians. Just before Cup Day

he lost two of them.

He searched unceasingly un- til he had to go to Flemington on the big day. Before he

went he told his wife he was feeling unlucky. His premoni- tion was proved true.

At the turn into the straight a dog ran out, frightened Wheat Ear, who crashed, and Dodd was killed.

The dog who caused Wheat Ear to crash and kill Dodd was one of the jockey's Dal- matians, his favorite, Prince. He was found licking his dead master's face after the field had gone past.

"Old Shadow"

Probably the most popular, and certainly the unluckiest, Melbourne Cup horse of all time was Shadow King. He never won the race, but was second twice and third twice between 1930 and 1933.

After he was retired from racing "Old Shadow," as he was called affectionately by punters, joined the Police Force and was one of the troopers' horses at the Mel- bourne Cup for many years.

And whoever rode him

LADIES" bar in the Members" Stand.

COMIC COVET, winner of the 1950 Cup in the record 3 min. 19\%ec. Evening Peal equalled it in 1956.

always gave him a canter down the steeplechase track.

He died an honored guest in the Police Depot paddocks

at Bundoora.

The biggest single Cup win is thought to be that of Ches- ter's owner, the Hon. James White, in 1877. He collected at the very least £30,000 after the race-equal to something well over £100,000 today.

Collecting it must have been something to see.

It took place in what was then known as "Under the

Verandah,"' outside the old , Exchange Building in Collins Street, between Elizabeth and Queen Streets.

The bei was paid out

within an hour in £100 notes

by the then "King of the Ring,"' Joe Thompson, to Robert Sevier, who worked the commission for the owner.

He took the precaution of having with him a body- guard of Jem Mace, the lead- ing barefisted boxer.

Robert Sevier is one of the

big names in Australia's early racing.

He was the first bookmaker to issue betting tickets at a Melbourne Cup in the 'nineties with the aid of a bag and a clerk.

Before this all transactions were entered in a small bet-

ting book, with no ticket for the punter.

Sevier was suspended from the Victorian Club for punch- ing a Vice-Regal A.D.C. on the nose and for fighting the Marquess of Queensberry in a Swanston Street cafe.

Big wins mean big celebra-

tions.

Two that have been handed dow;n in Melbourne Cup his- tory are the all-night party given by part-owner of the 1887 winner, Dunlop, Mr. R.

Donovan, at his hotel, "The Pastoral," near Flemington, and the long and lavish one Joe Thompson gave at Don Juan House after Don Juan's

win in 1873.

Big Cup wins have some- times meant a great deal more than big parties.

The Melbourne Press of the day said that Merriwee's 1899 victory saved the family home for his owner, Herbert Power, a member of the first V.R.C.

committee.

Last hope

Mr. Power admitted to a friend just before the Cup that he was in "desperate straits" and was "adventuring his last hope in the race."

Not so fortunate was W. Forrester, owner of the brothers Gaulus and The Grafter, who won the 1897 and 1898 Cups, respectively, and in 1897 fought out the finish. He died without a pound to his name.

But that's the luck of thc game. The hoped-for hap- pier side of it, coupled with the thrilling excitement and the galloping beauty of the satin - shiny horses, is what draws all eyes and ears to Flemington every first Tues- day afternoon in November.

It's the lure which draws

people year after year, win or lose, and none more surely than 87-year-old Mrs. Jo

Bird. She has seen every

Melbourne Cup bar two since Bravo's victory in 1889.

She is now looking forward eagerly to seeing her 70th

Melbourne Cup race on November 1, 1960 - along with the other 199,999 hope- ful punters expected to swarm over the 'lawns, the bill, the flat, the birdcage, and the grandstands on this Centenary Cup Day.

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