The 133rd Buchan Cup will be run and won on Saturday, the meeting serving as a symbol of resilience just weeks after residents banded together to protect their racetrack from bushfire.
While the fires charred the winning post and track and damaged running rails, the jockeys rooms and horse stalls were saved. The Buchan community has since worked to ensure that the course will be in the best possible condition for Cup Day.
The Andrews Labor Government is also backing the club, committing $25,000 towards the meeting from a new $150,000 Victorian Racing Industry Fund allocation for bushfire-affected clubs, to encourage people to attend regional races and support local tourism.
The wider racing community has gotten behind the Buchan and Gelantipy Racing Club’s sole race day, with the Victoria Racing Club to bring the 2020 Melbourne Cup to East Gippsland to show at the meeting.
The Government will help spread the message of Buchan’s recovery and encourage people to travel to East Gippsland with support for racing radio station RSN to broadcast from the Buchan Hotel on Friday morning and SEN to base the Off The Bench program at the Central Hotel at Lakes Entrance on Saturday morning.
Racing.com will broadcast the Buchan Cup live at 3.52pm on Saturday as part of its coverage.
As well as a great day’s country racing at Buchan there’ll be activities for the whole family including a kids’ game zone, live music and giveaways, and free shuttle buses from Bairnsdale, Orbost, Lakes Entrance and Bruthen.
There will also be fundraising initiatives to support community groups with bushfire recovery.
Buchan is one of several race clubs that has been impacted by the bushfires, with meetings cancelled in some instances and potential visitors staying away.
The new $150,000 Victorian Racing Industry Fund program will provide up to $25,000 to help eligible clubs to bolster raceday attractions and entertainment for meetings held this year. Clubs are encouraged to work with the relevant code to identify events that may be eligible for funding.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Racing Martin Pakula
“The way that the Buchan community rallied during the fires, and has continued to do so since, has been inspirational.”
“This is a community showing the very best of qualities in the toughest of circumstances – I’ll be there on Saturday to enjoy the unique charms of a day at the picnics.”
Quote attributable to Bushfire Recovery Victoria chair Ken Lay
“It’s vital that local people lead the way with recovery efforts and the work of the wider Buchan community to put on their Cup meeting is a terrific example of precisely that.”
Quote attributable to Buchan and Gelantipy Racing Club president Peter Sandy
“We’re proud and excited that our Buchan Cup meeting is back on track – we’re keen to welcome families from across Victoria to enjoy a great day out and support our community.”