Ceduna Cup Fun
The Ceduna Cup is held in the small town on the Far West Coast of South Australia, and is a highlight on the cultural and social calendar. It is held in January each year and there are several value packages for out-of-towners who want to make the trip and experience the races and the rest of what the town has to offer.
Background to Ceduna
The town sits on Murat Bay, on the Eyre Peninsula’s west coast, and its name comes from the local Aboriginal word Chedoona, which is thought to mean a place to sit down and rest. Although the town is small, it has played a significant part in the overall development of Australia because it is a fishing port and railway hub. Scientific and economic activities continue to this day, and keep Ceduna relevant. The town is also on the National Highway of Australia so it is easy to get to, and is known as the gateway to the Nullarbor Plain. There are several different accommodation options and opportunities to swim, fish and explore in the surrounding conservation parks and beaches.
The Ceduna Cup
The Ceduna Cup is held on the town’s racecourse, and is managed by the Ceduna Racing Club under Thoroughbred Racing SA. The Club hosts other events as well, including the Southern Cross Television Christmas Races and the Thevenard Cup Wine and Gourmet Races, but the namesake cup remains the most popular.
The setting of the racecourse is very appealing, particularly to holidaymakers, and is only 500 meters from Shelley Beach. An elevated lawn area overlooks the track and is ideal for group marquees which can make the even more sociable. Novelty events, children’s entertainment, bookies and TAB services keep everyone entertained, and there are even live music events to round off the last few racing days.
The Ceduna Cup Carnival
The carnival starts a few days before the races, with the Calcutta. In the lead-up to this event tickets are sold for a small amount of money, with the money brought in from these sales creating a starting pool. On the night of the Calcutta a draw is held, and one ticket is taken out for each horse in the Cup. The holder of that ticket is then called the horse’s owner. The horses are then ranked in order from least to most likely winner, and an auction for the steeds is opened. Anyone can bid, and if the original owner wants to keep the horse, they must bid the highest. If this happens they only have to pay in half of what they bet, which goes directly into the prize pool. If a new bidder is successful, half of what they paid goes into the pool and the other half goes to the original owner. Payouts are made as percentages of the entire prize pool, with the owner of the winning horse getting the biggest amount. Other festivities usually continue the fun until the races actually beginning, featuring national and local Ceduna celebrities. The cup can serve as the initial reason to visit Ceduna, or can complement other activities well.