Mortlake Dispatch
Racing, fashion and history set for big cup day

FROM the excitement of racing action to a celebration of 150 years of the Mortlake Racing Club, the Mortlake racecourse will be buzzing with activity this weekend.

The annual Derby Day Mortlake Cup will be held this Saturday, which will coincide with the club’s 150th anniversary.

Club manager Jason Hughes said this year will be bigger and better than ever.

“We have plenty of entertainment throughout the day, an after party on course after the last race, great prizes up for grabs in Fashions on the Field and the race day promotion, as well as a reunion for children of the soldier settlers to celebrate our 150 years of Mortlake Racing Club,” he said.

Mr Hughes said a marquee will feature a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the club’s inception, with a number of historical pieces also on show in the club’s social rooms.

He said while recent high levels of rainfall had prevented the club from hosting trials on the track, the club anticipates a high-quality track on Saturday.

“We’re really rapt with how the track has come up,” Mr Hughes said.

Georgina Murphy is the ambassador for 2019 and will be entertaining patrons in the trackside 150 year marquees, along with judging the Fashions on the Field contests.

Shortly before the final race, ‘Sexual Chocolate’ will return due to popular demand to play a range of hits from about 5pm until 8pm as part of after party celebrations.

Former local trainer Harry Blacker will be one of the attendees on the special day with a long-term connection to the Mortlake club.

Beginning as a trainer in 1968, he eventually expanded his operations up to seven horses at a time.

His efforts bore fruit in Mortlake, with ‘Vescavado’ winning the Mortlake Cup in 1991 and again running first in 1993.

“I was always pleased to have a horse in the Mortlake Cup,” Mr Blacker said.

A particular career highlight was seeing Michelle Payne launch her career in 2001 and take out a race on one of his horses.

Despite deciding to not renew his licence in 2004, Mr Blacker continues to go along to the Mortlake Cup every year and said he is keen to celebrate the club’s 150th anniversary.

Free shuttle buses will operate between Mortlake, Terang and Camperdown and the racecourse, along with a shuttle bus back to Warrnambool at the conclusion of the ‘after party’.

The gates will open at 11am, with tickets available for $20 per person at the gate.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit country.racing.com/mortlake.