Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

150th Ipswich Cup Puts Extra Spotlight on City; Share in Rarehistory at 2016race Meeting

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

150th Ipswich Cup Puts Extra Spotlight on City; Share in Rarehistory at 2016race Meeting

Article excerpt

DAVID

LEMS

david.lems@qt.com.au

AS the majestic marquees rise around the Ipswich Turf Club so does the excitement levels.

The city's social event of the year, the Ipswich Cup, is just three weeks away.

However, this year's annual get-together to party and back a winner has added significance.

It's a 150th anniversary celebration, marking the first known running of the Ipswich Cup at the Grange Racecourse, Raceview, in 1866.

For Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching, this year's Ipswich Cup meeting on June 18 is a chance for the city to display its famous sporting and civic heart.

"The catchcry, out on the billboard, is celebrating 150 years of Ipswich Cup community spirit,'' Kitching said. "Because no one does it like Ipswich.

"No one else has the city pride and keeps coming out on Ipswich Cup Day each year to celebrate the Cup. And now it's the 150th anniversary and the people of Ipswich are still doing it.''

The original Ipswich Cup, showcased in the Art Gallery, is a rare piece of Australian racing history.

Having attracted crowds of 20,000 plus in recent years, the Ipswich Turf Club has led the way in putting the city on the map.

An extra 15 marquees needed this year continues the growth trend.

Kitching, 53, watched his first Ipswich Cup meeting 38 years ago, when across the road at Bundamba High School. He recalls the Bart Cummings trained Lloyd Boy winning the 1978 race when he was in year 11.

As a former accountant and with an incredible memory, Kitching rates the 2006 win of New Zealander Sphenophyta as one of his Cup Day highlights.

"It helps when you back a winner,'' he said with an astute smile.

"He was a class horse. He went on to win the Group One race, the Turnbull Stakes, down in Melbourne after winning the Ipswich Cup.''

It was also the third time jockey Jim Byrne won the Cup.

Since those school days, Kitching has been an avid Ipswich Cup goer, reuniting with friends in the beer garden, sharing in the marquee excitement with Hardboards and the Railways, and even owning a horse on the big day. …

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