The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) on Thursday announced a new Flemington tradition—the Harry White Whip trophy—to be awarded to the winning jockey of the Emirates Melbourne Cup each year.
The trophy is named in honour of four time Melbourne Cup winner and Australian Racing Hall of Fame member Harry White, who made the race his own in the 1970s. Over his 35 year career, White won almost 200 feature races, but it was the Melbourne Cup where he made his greatest mark.
White rode three Melbourne Cup winners for the ‘Cups King’ Bart Cummings—Think Big twice (1974-75) and Hyperno (1979)—as well as Arwon for George Hanlon (1978). He rode in the Melbourne Cup on 24 occasions throughout his career.
The new award, a gold trophy in the form of a jockey’s riding whip, will be presented to the winning jockey along with the traditional miniature Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy.
VRC Chairman Michael Burn said the VRC is delighted White agreed to lend his name to the trophy.
“The presentation of the Harry White Whip on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day will honour one of the greatest riders in Australian racing history, and our latest Cup winning jockey at the same time,” Mr Burn said.
“Harry has a great affinity with the Melbourne Cup, as the equal joint record holder with Bobbie Lewis on four race wins, and it’s a fitting recognition of his achievements.
“The jockey lucky enough to take the Harry White Whip home each year will forever have a connection with one of the finest jockeys Flemington has seen.”
White, now 71 and battling multiple sclerosis, said he was very proud to have the trophy named after him.
“You couldn’t get a better honour. It’s terrific. It makes you wish you could get back on a horse and have another go,” White said.
Harry White donated his personal racing memorabilia, including his four Melbourne Cup trophies, to the VRC’s art and heritage collection in 2012.
The new award represents the first time a whip trophy is included in the VRC’s official trophy suite for the Melbourne Cup and does not replace the Wirth’s Whip—traditionally presented by the Wirth Bros. Circus and since managed by a private patron.