HISTORY: Tom Cowley's Nobleman, winner of the first Allora Cup in 1949.
HISTORY: Tom Cowley's Nobleman, winner of the first Allora Cup in 1949. Contributed

History of the Cup dates back to 1949

AFTER a lull of around 45 years, the sound of a bugle ringing out "Call to Post” was heard once again for an Allora Cup horse racing meet in 2014, marking the rebirth of the race meet named in honour of the Best Little Town on the Downs.

That Railway Hotel Allora Cup Race Day meet was hosted at Warwick's Allman Park by the Warwick Turf Club on Saturday, February 1, the main race that reignited a tradition won by Daryl Peckett's Ain't She Sweet.

Allora's big race day gets under way again on Saturday in Warwick, the fifth time it has been run since its re-emergence.

The 2016 Allora Cup meet was to also be a celebration of 150 years of racing history in the Allora district but wet weather saw the event cancelled and rescheduled early this year.

The first Allora Cup appears to have occurred at a meeting held on October 8, 1949 when the cup was run for overall prizemoney of £45 and a cup valued at £10/10.

The race club secretary in 1949 and for the next 11 years at least, was the Allora railway station master, Jack Hilton.

The winner of the inaugural Allora Cup was Nobleman, owned by Tom Cowley, trained by Dick Byrne and ridden by Joe Murphy.

The following year the Cup was won by RCCrowther's Bon Ami.

In 1953, the Cup winner was the mare Plane, owned and trained by Frank Armstrong and at the presentation of the 1955 Allora Cup, won by Frank Armstrong's Lurcher Queen, Allora Jockey Club secretary, Jack Hilton, said that Mr Armstrong apparently had "a mortgage on the cup because it was the fourth time that he had won it”.

Local racing historian Shirley Murray recalls that the cup meeting was a huge event in Allora with a half-day holiday granted.

Top race caller Vince Curry would call the races from the back of a utility backed up to the course fence.

From 1956 the Allora Cup was run on Melbourne Cup Day, the winner that year being Bubbatonga owned by Bob Armstrong.

The final Allora Cup meeting before being reinstated in 2014 appears to have been run on November 3, 1959.

The reintroduced Allora Cup occurred twice in 2015, relocating from its initial February date to November.

Allora locals turned out in force on Sunday November 15, 2015, at Warwick's Allman Park, soaking up the sunshine at a hugely successful Railway Hotel Allora Cup.

It was won convincingly by five-year-old bay gelding, Real Favulous.

Other key races close to the hearts of the Allora community last November were the Justin Briggs Commemorative Class 3 Plate and the Colleen Burgess Memorial Benchmark 65 Handicap sponsored respectively by Robyn Miles of Allora's Railway Hotel and Allora district racing identity Barry Burgess.

Clifton-based owners Adrian and Julia Simmons and their son Shane Simmons were thrilled with the performance of Real Favulous, who was having a cracker of a year after enjoying success in the 2015 Weetwood Handicap.

Glyn Rees

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