Melbourne Cup tour of Kangaroo Island postponed due to weather

LEGEND JOCKEY: Cup winning jockey John Letts at Adelaide Oval during the 2018 Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour. Photo VRC
LEGEND JOCKEY: Cup winning jockey John Letts at Adelaide Oval during the 2018 Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour. Photo VRC

The virtual visit by the 2020 Melbourne Cup to Kangaroo Island on Wednesday, September 23 has been postponed due to rough weather in Backstairs Passage.

KI Racing Club president Mark Turner said the Melbourne Cup virtual tour was postponed due to lack of confidence in the sailing of the ferries because of rough weather.

And new date has already been set for Thursday, October 8.

Kangaroo Island will join racing history in October when it eventually plays host to the 18-carat gold Lexus Melbourne Cup this week as part of the 18th annual Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.

For the first time in its 17-year history, this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour will be a combination of physical and virtual visits to communities across Australia, with Kangaroo Island virtually hosting the iconic trophy on October 8.

Kangaroo Island Racing Club successfully submitted an application to host the tour and boost the spirits of locals following the devastating summer bushfires.

While the physical 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy will not visit Kangaroo Island, two-time Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning jockey and South Australian local John Letts will travel to the Island as part of the tour to share his Lexus Melbourne Cup memories with locals.

Community members are encouraged to join the 1972 and 1980 Melbourne Cup winning jockey at a special cup tour event at Kingscote Town Hall next month.

As part of the event, leading group one winning jockey and Kangaroo Island native, Dwayne Dunn and legendary Melbourne Cup race caller, Greg Miles were to have both dialed in via zoom and share their racing stories.

It is unclear who the guests will be for the rescheduled event, but John Letts is still keen to come over from Adelaide and share his Melbourne Cup memories.

Kangaroo Island mayor Michael Pengilly was also to have been in attendance alongside the 1950 Melbourne Cup trophy, which is on loan courtesy of the Lee family from Adelaide.

Letts was also to have stopped in at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park and Kingscote Race Club as part of the tour.

Kangaroo Island is also one of this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour National Sweep destinations, which will see 24 rural and regional tour destinations across Australia be allocated a barrier for the 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup.

The town that draws the barrier of the Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning horse will be presented with a cash prize of $50,000 to put towards a charity for a local community initiative.

Barriers for the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour National Sweep will be drawn in October.

John Letts said he was looking forward to being involved in this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour and sharing the magic of the People's Cup with communities across Australia.

"I've been a Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour Ambassador since the very beginning and can't wait to be involved again this year," he said.

"It's been a difficult year for many and it will great to connect with communities across Australia and bring some joy to those in need."

VRC chairman Amanda Elliott said it was more important than ever to share the magic of the iconic trophy with Australians.

"This year has been exceptionally challenging for all Australians. Devastating drought and catastrophic bushfires, as well as a global pandemic have contributed to a sense of isolation, uncertainty and in many cases financial hardship. This has amplified the importance of community and connectedness," Mrs Elliott said.

"In the year of the 160th running of our great race, we are looking forward to connecting with people in a very modern way. To be able to share stories, celebrate favourite moments, whilst raising much needed funds for a large range of worthy causes."

Since its beginning, the Tour has travelled more than 700,000 kilometres and visited more than 500 regional, rural and metropolitan destinations.

It has provided communities with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the magic of the Lexus Melbourne Cup and hear the many stories connected with Australia's greatest horse-race.

For further information about the 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour please visit