The Emirates Melbourne Cup
Australians are very familiar with Flemington’s big day every year on the first Tuesday of November, when they stop to acknowledge their favourite horse race, The Emirates Melbourne Cup.
People may not be aware that this magnificent event, which is now more than a one hundred and fifty (150) year old tradition, beginning in 1861, was run on a Thursday until 1875. Saturday was also selected as Melbourne Cup Day in the three consecutive years of 1942, 1943 and 1944, during World War II.
Every year its popularity is sustained, as enthusiastic people throughout this nation acknowledge the majestic efforts of the thoroughbred horses and the colourful vision of the gathering crowds that represent all aspects of society and community. The enthusiasm continues throughout the lead-up to the race, as everyone takes their own chance to ‘pick-the-winner’.
The Emirates Melbourne Cup winner will collect the beautiful solid gold trophy produced by Hardy Brothers Jewellers, who themselves have a history of Cup manufacture and also an established Australian history beginning in 1853.
The cup is fashioned from a single plate of 18 carat yellow gold. The metal is heated in a forge on eighteen separate occasions and spun while red hot into its distinctive bowl shape. The handles and other components are hand cut from plate gold and finished into perfect sizes prior to assembly. The gold-smith takes the raw components and meticulously assembles the cup. The assembled cup is then subjected to days of hand filing and polishing so the finished product is perfectly symmetrical with a mirror finish.
After 220 craftsman hours of work the cup is ready for the final task – the engraving. A steady hand and eye is required to engrave the famous inscriptions onto the cup. Not a task for the faint hearted given that an error at this stage could undo hundreds of hours of work. With much relief the cup is finally fixed to its polished timber base ready to be delivered to the Victorian Racing Club.