By Julio Santarelli
IT might not have been Flemington on the first Tuesday in November, but Alkimos Primary School created their own Melbourne Cup experience on Wednesday.
More than 250 students, teachers and parents welcomed the 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy to Perth as part of its annual Trans-Tasman tour.
Teachers dressed up as jockeys, classrooms were decked out in racing memorabilia, Year 6 students participated in a mock horse race and the school choir sang The Lion Sleeps, reworded in dedication to the cup.
The Melbourne Cup is recognised as the race that stops a nation but for Alkimos Primary School principal Andrew Gorton it was the cup that united a community.
“Our school opened this year and we were looking for a community event that could help celebrate that new beginning,” he said.
“Twenty-two per cent of the school students come from another country and we thought what better than to bring them together for something that is uniquely Australian.
“And there isn’t anything more uniquely Australian than the Melbourne Cup.
“I have been stunned by the response to having this iconic trophy at our school.
“Teachers and students have incredibly embraced it in class and integrating it in their learning areas.
“It’s been well over three months in the making since the tender process and the turnout and the response of the whole school community has been absolutely fantastic.
“It will give the school real incentive, enthusiasm and energy to pursue other community events and lots of learning opportunities.”
Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour ambassador Jim Cassidy also joined in the celebrations.
The recently retired champion jockey, a dual winner of the Melbourne Cup, said he was still amazed by the race’s impact.
“To see the work, thought and effort put in was just outstanding,” he said.
“Their outfits, little fascinators, their mock horses were terrific.
“To see the Melbourne Cup having an impact on a younger generation is just beautiful.
“The interest in the Melbourne Cup now, even around the world is amazing.
“It brings non-racing people together with racing people.
“It brings back memories for me and gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.
“Here I am at 53 coming back and talking about the dreams I had.”