A STAPLE of many country cup carnivals and feature racing events, the Calcutta auction will make a much-anticipated return in time for this year's Group 3 Bendigo Cup.
Next Tuesday night's event at the Golden Square Hotel will be the first run in conjunction with the Bendigo Cup in more than a decade.
It's return has been orchestrated by keen race followers Zeb Broadbent, Henry Bugge and Anthony Jupp, with the endorsement of the Bendigo Jockey Club.
They plan to turn it into an annual event.
Broadbent, a director of the Golden Square Hotel and livestock agent for McKean McGregor, said he could not remember being involved in a Calcutta before in Bendigo.
"Being a bit of a racing enthusiast, I go to places like Wagga each year and they have a very successful Calcutta, and even some of the smaller country cups have them," he said.
"But they don't seem as prominent in Victoria and there certainly hasn't been one in Bendigo in a long time.
"Given what we do, we were keen to run one in the pub. They are really fun events."
For details on how the Calcutta works, see below.
Broadbent said interest in the event, to be run on Bendigo Cup eve (October 31) from 6pm, had been extremely positive, with $10,000 already in the prize pool, generated through early ticket sales.
Single tickets cost $10, with 65 per cent of the eventual prize pool going to the owner of the winning cup horse, 20 per cent to second and 10 per cent to third.
"There isn't really much on the night before the cup in Bendigo, considering it is a public holiday the next day," Broadbent said.
"That's part of why we were keen to do it, to create some interest around the cup.
"Generally, the Calcutta is the night before the cup it is attached to, so hopefully this does help raise the profile of cup day a bit.
"The jockey club have been great in supporting it as part of their week."
The event will be emceed by SEN presenter and racing analyst Miles Pfitzner and will include potential guest speakers.
For pre-sale tickets, contact Zeb Broadbent on 0447 002 844 or Henry Bugge on 0403 671 917, or visit the Golden Square Hotel.
Not all proceeds of the Calcutta auction will go to the winners, with five per cent of the prize pool being donated to the National Jockeys Trust.
The Trust is a charity organisation dedicated to raising funds to support injured and ill jockeys and their families in necessitous circumstances.
The final field for the cup will be announced on Monday morning.
Tickets are $10 each (with no purchase limit) and are available before and on the night. The Calcutta commences with one ticket being drawn for each runner in the Group 3 Bendigo Cup. If your ticket is drawn, you 'own' that horse ahead of the auction stage. All proceeds from the ticket draw go into the prize pool.
Each horse will be auctioned to attendees at the Calcutta, who have the opportunity to bid for that horse. You can bid on your own, or you might choose to pool resources with others.
After each horse is sold:
50 per cent of the sale price goes to the person who drew that horse in the ticket draw; the remaining 50 per cent goes into the prize pool.
The highest bidder in the auction stage becomes the new owner of that horse.
As an example, if horse number one is auctioned for $1000, $500 will go into the prize pool and $500 to the person who initially drew the horse.
The Group 3 Bendigo Cup will be run on Wednesday, November 1.
Pool funds will be distributed as follows:
65 per cent to the owner of the winning horse;
20 per cent to the owner of the second horse;
10 per cent to the owner of the third horse;
Five per cent to the National Jockeys Trust.
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