Jordan Mercer (front) returns as Noosa Heads SLSC ski paddlers prepare for the Melbourne Cup event on Friday.
Jordan Mercer (front) returns as Noosa Heads SLSC ski paddlers prepare for the Melbourne Cup event on Friday. Geoff Potter

Melbourne Cup drops by

NOOSA will host one of its most high-profile guests today and she's dressed head to toe in 18-carat gold.

The $175,000 Melbourne Cup trophy will visit Noosa as part of the three-month 2012 Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour around Australia and New Zealand.

Rob Neely, who runs Noosa-based Equine Nutrition Australia, organised the stopover as one of one of 25 legs of the Victoria Racing Club's 10th anniversary tour.

Mr Neely said he wanted to incorporate every facet of the Noosa community and get as much publicity for Noosa and the Sunshine Coast as possible.

"It's an iconic sporting trophy coming to what is essentially an iconic beach and tourist destination," he said.

"It never goes back to a town twice...it's never been to the Coast before.

"It's coming to Noosa for the first and last time."

The Cup's visit was somewhat of a reunion for Mr Neely.

"I'm absolutely thrilled because our family had a long association with the Cup," he said.

"I went to the Cup when I was 11 years of age and went for 18 years straight. My family went to the Melbourne Cup every single year, so it means a lot to me."

The Cup will visit the Noosa Surf Life Saving Club, St Theresa's Catholic Secondary School, St Thomas More Catholic Primary School, Sunshine Beach State School, Ricky's Restaurant, Carramar Senior Citizens Home, Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club Supporters Bar and travel on the Noosa Ferry.

But the main event will be seeing it winched out of a helicopter and into a surf boat in front of Noosa's Main Beach.

The Cup will be on the beach in front of Noosa Heads Surf Club in the afternoon so the public can take photos, while the club hosts a 24-person surf ski race, representing the 24 Melbourne Cup horses.

Sheila Laxon, the first female trainer of a Melbourne Cup winner, Ethereal in 2001 will join Wendy Green, the owner of 1999 Cup winner Rogan Josh at the charity lunch at Ricky's Restaurant, with proceeds going to Angel Flight.

The tour highlights the contribution of the 152-year-old race to social, sporting and racing culture.


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