OLYMPIC track cycling champion Anna Meares is special guest speaker at this month’s Jayco Bendigo Cup carnival.
The gold-medal winning triumph by the sprint star from Queensland was one of the highlights at this year’s London Olympics.
Bendigo Jockey Club president Brendan Drechsler confirmed Meares would be at the Nursery of Champions on October 31 during last night’s Cup carnival launch at La Piazza.
“Anna Meares is one of the most inspirational Australians going around,” Drechsler said.
“Her comeback from a broken neck in 2008 to win silver at the Beijing Games and then go on to beat Victoria Pendleton in London four years later was an incredible achievement.
“Anna has an amazing story to tell.
“Her performances to beat Great Britain’s Victoria Pendleton in the sprint final in London were incredible,” said the BJC chief.
Meares being trackside and meeting and greeting fans is a huge coup for the Cup carnival.
“This year’s Jayco Bendigo Cup is now at $250,000 and many of the international trainers and some of Australia’s biggest owners are keen to be involved with this race,” Drechsler said.
“Lloyd Williams wants to win Bendigo again, Gerry Ryan hopes to have a starter, and the Cumanis are keen to return.
“We have come a long way in the past five years,” he said of the Cup being moved to the Wednesday before the Melbourne Cup and distance being at 2400m.
“A few years ago there was talk of our Cup being on a Saturday. We didn’t want to do it.
“Now we have the date and distance we want.
“A long-term goal is to showcase two great provincial Cups – Geelong and Bendigo – and for the winners to automatically qualify for the Melbourne Cup.”
Lining up for a fourth year as race sponsor, Gerry Ryan from Jayco and Meares will glide along the home straight in a Mercedes convertible before the Cup is run and won.
Nominations for the Bendigo Cup close on October 25, with acceptors to be declared four days later.