‘Gympie’s Melbourne Cup’: Gympie makes national headlines
MIRACLES can happen. Dreams can come true. And everyone dreams of winning the Melbourne Cup.
That was the summary from Gympie Turf Club's Spencer Slatter this morning as he contemplated the big win by Gympie's favourite horse ever, Vow and Declare.
And for part owner and deputy Gympie Region mayor Bob Leitch, his share in the 2019 Melbourne Cup winner was "the birthday present that keeps on giving."
Offered the chance to buy an interest in the horse, he had asked his wife to think of it as a birthday present, as he prepared to turn 50.
And the man who got him into it, Gympie High principal Anthony Lanskey was all smiles as he told of his decision to "have a go."
He said it seemed to have made a lot of Gympie people "very happy."
Both indicated they might have "a few quiet beers" on their return to Gympie, "probably at The Australian Hotel."
Mr Lanskey's uncle tried to sell the horse in 2017 and when he couldn't, he offered an interest to family and friends.
And that was the horse that came from nowhere to dominate what may be the most famous horse race in the world.
Mr Leitch said Gympie people were "over the moon."
"My phone's running hot with texts so there's been a fair bit of money put on Vow and Declare," he said.
"It's a fabulous town and we're lucky to be there - and glad to bring some joy to the place.
Mr Leitch said he had been wondering what was in store for his 50th birthday when Mr Lanskey offered him an interest in the largely unknown horse which came from the regions to win the Cup, the first Australian horse to do so in a decade.
Like most of Vow and Declare's owners, neither had ever owned a horse before.
Mayor Mick Curran said there was no doubt the win would be good for Gympie and for people "doing it tough" on the land in regional Australia.