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Melbourne Cup Foundation announced

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) is delighted to announce the launch of the Melbourne Cup Foundation, on the eve of the 160th running of the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

The Melbourne Cup Foundation will be underpinned by three core pillars representing the three handles of the Cup trophy; Honouring the Past, Enhancing the Present and Shaping the Future.

It will bring together existing VRC charitable initiatives and will also provide a platform to drive the goals of building community, connectedness and belonging.

The Melbourne Cup Foundation has an independent Board of Directors which comprises Gerry Ryan OAM as Chairman, Amanda Elliott as Vice Chairman and Sophie Cornell and Glenn Carmody as Directors.

VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott said the Melbourne Cup Foundation is a natural progression of the spirit and significance associated with Australia’s premier racing event.

“As custodians of the iconic Melbourne Cup Carnival and Flemington Racecourse, the VRC has a responsibility to use the high profile Melbourne Cup brand to effect positive change.

Whether that be meaningful support, or indeed, new and innovative projects,” Mrs Elliott said.

“We have helped shape the city, the state and the nation for more than 160 years, and the Melbourne Cup Foundation will be a tangible evolution of everything we have come to stand for including unity and excellence.

“Not only will the Foundation centralise the myriad of community and charitable programs the VRC already undertakes, it will further support equine welfare initiatives whether they be VRC led or by the broader industry. It will also allow us the freedom to champion blue sky projects that have far reaching benefits beyond Flemington that could include infrastructure, scientific research and education.

“We all know that winning a Lexus Melbourne Cup changes people’s lives – the Melbourne Cup Foundation can also change the lives of people who may never have the opportunity to win a Cup.”

The Melbourne Cup Foundation vision includes a successful collaboration between philanthropy, community, government and business.

Chairman Gerry Ryan said he was looking forward to guiding the Foundation’s first steps.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is Australia’s original major event, it has given so much to this town and I am pleased to be able to further that community contribution via the Melbourne Cup Foundation,” Mr Ryan said.

“I am passionate about the sport of thoroughbred racing, about Flemington Racecourse and the VRC’s history and hopes for the future. It’s an honour to be the inaugural Chair.”

The Melbourne Cup Foundation will partner with individuals and community organisations whose values align with its vision, providing each with significant support and ongoing opportunities.

The Melbourne Cup Foundation has been established under the auspices of the VRC and governed by its own Board of Directors, it is a separate legal entity that will allow fully tax deductible donations to support a range of programmes to benefit all.

Key supporters include Melbourne Cup winning trainer Dermot Weld, four time Melbourne Cup winning jockey Harry White and The University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Microbiology: Professor Duncan Maskell.

For more information on the foundation visit


Trainer – Vintage Crop (Melbourne Cup winner 1993): Dermot Weld

“After winning the race in 1993, I stated, this is the furthest anyone has ever brought a horse to win a race.

“Vintage Crop’s victory internationalised the Melbourne Cup, the race would never be the same again. It had joined the great races of the world. But it wasn’t just winning the race that impacted our lives, it was the whole story of the national behind it.

“What winning the Melbourne Cup can do to your life and your career is remarkable. The way people idolise and dream about this race is the envy of world racing.

“I believe that a foundation created in the Cup’s name, based on the three pillars of Heritage and Culture, Equine Health and Wellbeing and Community and Education will bring far reaching benefits beyond the racing world.”

The University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Microbiology: Professor Duncan Maskell

“I arrived in Melbourne to take up my new role as Vice Chancellor at the University of Melbourne in mid-September 2018, and the first, rather wet, weekend we were here we went to Flemington, which perhaps tells you how excited I was to be coming to this racing city.

“I came from Cambridge in the UK, which is just down the road from Newmarket where organised British horse racing started in the 17th Century, and where I had been an Annual Member for a number of years.

“Flemington Racecourse was a revelation. So big, and such great historic, as well as brand new, buildings, with a brilliant view of the city from the stands. My first big race was seeing Winx win her last Turnbull Stakes, and how grateful I was to be able to see the mighty mare race.

“Nothing prepared me for the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Such a big and glamorous crowd, the beautiful roses, and such great racing.

“The Melbourne Cup is an iconic race, even in the UK, and to see the international field assembled for the two Cups I’ve seen live was very exciting. I hope that the Foundation becomes equally iconic and achieves all of the good work that it is setting out to do.”

Four Time Melbourne Cup Winning Jockey (1974, 75, 78 & 79): Harry White

“Winning the Melbourne Cup four times will always be something that I hold dear to my heart.

“To think this race would be a race that I would have so much success had a great impact on my career. I felt like it was my race there for a time.

“I applaud the VRC on its initiative of the Melbourne Cup Foundation and believe it will be a great way in which to give back to the community in a meaningful way. I wish all involved every success with the exciting project.”

Part Owner – Vow and Declare (Lexus Melbourne Cup winner 2019): Anthony Lanskey

“As a winning connection, it is almost impossible to measure the impact of the Cup. It transcends all levels of society and has an incredible power to brighten the lives of others. We have been privileged to play a small part this year in sharing the joy of the Cup with family, friends and the community.

“Just as winning the Cup has had a positive impact on all of us, I see the Foundation also drawing on the power of our nation’s greatest race to change lives for the better.

“What a wonderful concept that comes as our communities have faced one of the toughest times in living memory.”

Part Owner – Rogan Josh (Melbourne Cup winner 1999): Wendy Green

“The Melbourne Cup is best summed up by the identifying statement ‘the race that stops the nation’. It identifies "us" and those who are not “us” as who we are as Australians; about our competitive spirit, our love for the horse, and the fun we have when we get together with our mates. It’s all embracing like vegemite.

“To visit the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November is on most people's bucket list; to own a thorough bred race horse is to dream of winning the great race and to pat a past champion is equivalent to shaking hands with Don Bradman. So it was with me in 1999, thelast Melbourne Cup of the 20th century, when our home bred country boy Rogan Josh, beat the best in the world and gave hope to all.

“The symbolic trophy, the three handled ‘loving cup’ of pure gold became for me "the cup that kept on giving”. I travelled the world sharing the stories of our great nation and famous equine champions. I met with the rich and famous, the battlers and all who dreamed the dream of my reality of winning a Melbourne Cup.

“Sharing the tangible reality of winning has been inspirational and as a school teacher I had been able to convey a message past and present, of embracing challenge, acknowledging champions, and celebrating with pride our national ethos. Accordingly, I fully support the initiative of the Melbourne Cup Foundation.”