The Yarra Valley is the fertile region surrounding the perennial Yarra River in the Australian state of Victoria, which flows through the state capital, Melbourne, before reaching the sea at Port Phillip. In the indigenous local language, “yarro-yarro” means “ever-flowing”. The term “Yarra Valley” is generally therefor only applied to the eastern regions of the river, the area that is farmed most intensely, before it reaches the plains around Melbourne.
This area is not only famed for astounding natural beauty; it is also a renowned agricultural producer, and it lies at the heart of some of Australia’s top winemaking country. European exploration of the area began in 1803, and settlement expanded rapidly from 1835 onwards. Farming, industrialisation and pollution once threatened the health of the entire river system, but since the 1960s, concerted and consistent efforts by the authorities and concerned citizens alike has reversed the trend and improved the Yarra Valley system immensely.
Yarra Valley Horseracing History
The first horseracing track in the Yarra Valley was built in 1858, and it has remained on the same site through various alterations, amalgamations and mergers, until Yarra Valley Racing Inc was formed in 2004. One of the highlights of the Victoria racing season is the Jack Hirsch Memorial Yarra Valley Cup, held annually around the date of St Patrick’s Day. The race is 1,950m long, including a final straight of 230m, with a total purse of AU$100,000.
The winner gets AU$60,000, with the rest of the prize money distributed among the other horses running as far as the eighth place. The “Jack Hirsch Memorial” part of the race’s name was added in 2014, to commemorate respected Yarra Valley community member and racing enthusiast Jack Hirsch, who died in 2013. Part of the race’s attraction is the catering on offer. In the heart of Victoria’s wine country, sparkling wines and gourmet food provided by a variety of outlets at the Yarra Valley Racecourse make any race meeting a day out like no other.
The racecourse is barely an hour’s drive from the Melbourne CBD, so adding the luxurious food and beverage selections on offer means that the Yarra Valley Cup is rated as one of the most relaxing days at the races anywhere in Australia. Targeted discount packages, whether punters prefer the marquees, restaurant or open-stand seating, help make this ultimate racing experience affordable to more racing fans. You’ll also be able to place a variety of exciting wagers either at betting sites s or at the sports betting bookies in Aus
The 2015 Yarra Valley Cup
On 15 March 2015, the Jack Hirsch Memorial Yarra Valley Cup was won by Index Linked, ridden by Glen Boss and trained by Chris Waller, carrying the field’s top handicap weight of 60kg. Despite the heavy weighting, Index Linked was the favourite by the start of the race, and the eight-year-old gelding repaid the faith entrusted in him.
Luke Nolen riding Wish Come True, trained by Peter Moody, came in second, with Tooleybuc Kid (ridden by Michelle Payne; Darren Weir trainer) and Harvey’s True Heart (ridden by Dale Smith, Mick Price trainer) in third and fourth places, respectively.