Located in the north-western region of Tasmania, Australia, the city of Devonport sits at the mouth of the Mersey River. It is regarded as the area’s major regional centre, along with the slightly smaller township of Burnie and has different agricultural industries and a thriving metropole. Devonport is also a sporting city of note, with clubs and players in almost every discipline. This includes the equestrian sports of harness and horse racing, with the Devonport Cup the highlight in the racing calendar.
The Big Event
The Devonport Cup is actually held in the nearby town of Spreyton, known for its apple orchards and for Spreyton Racecourse. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Devonport Racing Club, which is the oldest sporting body in the city. The Cup was first help in 1902 and has grown into one of the 3 major races in Tasmania, along with the Launceston and Hobart Cups. Along with this, its purse has also gotten bigger and now stands at 100,000 Australian Dollars. Its distance of 1800 m is shorter than the other two races, and many experts consider it a good lead-up to the Hobart and Launceston events. Held in early January, it gives spectators a good indication of who to look out for in the other 2 races and givers riders and horses a chance to warm up.
There have been a few scheduling changes over the years, but the Cup is now held on the second Wednesday in January every year and is a gazetted half-day local public holiday. This makes it easier to get to, and the race has also become a major social and cultural event. Attendance records are broken almost every year and the meet and its surrounding activities have actually become known as the Devonport Cup Carnival. There are many entertaining activities for children, and other special events such as The Calcutta, the barbeque and the Members Cocktail Party on the Monday before where the Advocate Miss Devonport Cup winner is announced. As well as gaining prestige, contacts and prizes, the lucky winner gets to help organise the Fashions on the Field competition. This has become highly competitive, with generous prizes up for grabs, and entrants really come decked out in their best finery.
Families and friends can enjoy a great day out, businesses can host their own marquees and do some serious networking, and everybody can bet on the horses. It’s possible to place punts at the event, and to do it online or at other land-based bookies. There are several different types of wagers and promotions on offer, and it’s strongly recommended that as much research as possible is done before any stakes are made. The horse and jockey performance history, injury reports and expert opinions should all be checked out, and betting should also always be done responsibly.
Visitors who come to the town for the Devonport Cup will find lots of other activities and entertainment as well. Mount Victoria and North Head, both fortified Maori village sites, can be summited and offer spectacular views and the chance to explore their old Navy forts complete with gun embankments and bunkers. There are 5 pristine beaches within walking distance from the main street, and the stroll will take visitors past heritage buildings and 19th century villas. Devonport also has a reputation as an artists’ hub, and there are plenty of galleries to explore. Racing fans should find activities to enhance their overall Cup experience quite easily right here.