Melbourne Cup draws a massive North Burnett crowd
MELBOURNE Cup royalty was in Monto and Eidsvold on Saturday as part of the 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour.
Melbourne Cup winning trainer from 2001, Sheila Laxon, visited the towns as part of the tour and said it was great to get out into racing heartland.
"It's things like this, you get to see different parts of Australia and find out all the interesting areas," she said.
"Eidsvold and Monto, I've just loved it, it's right out in the heartland."
"My favourite part of today was coming down here (to the RM Williams Centre).
"You see where they have the cattle, the rodeos; it's such a part of rural Australia."
Ms Laxon said she hoped to return to the region soon.
"I want to come back here and go on that charity muster they want to do in two years time," she said.
"It's always been my dream to be a jillaroo since I was a kid; it's still on my bucket list.
"I love this area and it would be great to come back here with my partner."
Hundreds of people stopped by various events in Monto and Eidsvold to have their photo taken with the cup.
Worth about $200,000, the cup will be presented to the winner of the Melbourne Cup in November.
The tour began at 8.30am in Monto with the Breakfast of Champions event, before moving to the Monto Lions Park and Cultural Centre.
Monto Race Club president Mark Hutton said it was an honour to have the cup in Monto.
"It is just unique and it probably won't happen again," Mr Hutton said.
"It's something special to have it here.
"It means a lot to the club."
After a quick stop at the Mulgildie Bunyip - who did not try to steal the cup - the cup and its entourage made their way to the RM Williams Centre for an afternoon tea event and a cocktail party.
Eidsvold Race Club president Lyle Murray said it was a privilege to be chosen as one of four Queensland destinations for the cup tour, the others being Toowoomba, Blackall and Monto.
"People watch the race on TV, but to have the actual cup horses will be racing for on the first Tuesday of November this year, having it here in Eidsvold has made it that little bit more real," Mr Murray said.
"Hopefully it will generate a bit of interest in the local race club and flow on to our race meeting in February."
Emirates Melbourne Cup tour manager Joe McGrath said the tour was about social inclusion.
"The Victorian Racing Club sees the Melbourne Cup as the people's cup and the people's race," Mr McGrath said.
"We think it is important to share the cultural icon with the people across Australia." It's the opportunity to get up close to a cultural icon, meet the people associated with the race and creating a sense of social inclusion in the towns, for them to create a positive event."