Melbourne Cup fever at Villa Vailima

By Vatapuia Maiava ,

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ENJOYING THE MELBOURNE CUP IN SAMOA: Cewin Astudillo, Ruby Newton and Georgina Lui at the Melbourne Cup Extravaganza yesterday evening.

ENJOYING THE MELBOURNE CUP IN SAMOA: Cewin Astudillo, Ruby Newton and Georgina Lui at the Melbourne Cup Extravaganza yesterday evening. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Almandin’s victory in the Melbourne Cup yesterday evening was a great cause for celebration at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum last night.

It was where the crazy unique hats, great company, overflowing drinks, food and the enjoyment of some great horse racing was the order of the day.

But the fun was all for a great course.

For years now, the Rotary Club of Apia (R.C.A.) has been using the Melbourne Cup to raise funds for their different projects. What’s more, the Extravaganza showed that you don’t need to break the bank buying a plane ticket to get in on all the Melbourne Cup Action.

Bringing Australia’s most prestigious event to Samoa, last night’s guests at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum were treated to some good ol’ horse betting in style.

 “This event is the R.C.A’s main fundraiser,” R.C.A. President, Susan Faoagali told the Samoa Observer.

“Rotary Club of Apia does a lot of community projects; education, books in schools, furniture in schools, we’ve done water tanks in the past and a lot of other community projects."

“To get that money we have to fundraise. We have two fundraisers with one being the garden party in June and this is the major one. We have been doing this event for 26 years.”

It wasn’t just the who’s who of Apia who got in on all the action; the event was also opened to the public’s enjoyment."

“The guests come, have a bit to eat, have some drinks and enjoy the Melbourne Cup,” Ms. Faoagali said.

“We have a lot of people donating some awesome auction prizes and a lot of other things everyone is looking forward to."

CELEBRATING THE MELBOURNE CUP: Eka Arp and Elisapeta Arp.
CELEBRATING THE MELBOURNE CUP: Eka Arp and Elisapeta Arp.
ENJOYING ONE OF AUSTRALIA’s MOST PRESTIGIOUS EVENTS: Australian High Commissioner, Sue Langford and R.C.A. President, Susan Faoagali
ENJOYING ONE OF AUSTRALIA’s MOST PRESTIGIOUS EVENTS: Australian High Commissioner, Sue Langford and R.C.A. President, Susan Faoagali
U.S Embassy Chargé d'Affaires, Angelina Wilkinson with Myles Wilkinson.
U.S Embassy Chargé d'Affaires, Angelina Wilkinson with Myles Wilkinson.

“We have two types of guests. We have the public who come and sit under the tent; they buy some drinks, have some food and watch the races on a big screen."

“We have a tote where they can come and bet some money on the races and buy some raffles. The same goes for our corporate tables."

“We have some really supportive companies who come and buy raffles to support us. Everyone just enjoys themselves knowing it’s for a good cause.”

Ms. Faoagali thanked all their sponsors saying that the event wouldn’t be possible with their partnership.

“We would like to thank some people and companies who have helped us make this possible,” she said.

“We would like to thank Bluesky and B.S.P. who is our gold sponsor; our silver sponsors, Radio Polynesia and A.N.Z.; our bronze sponsors S.C.B. and lots of other sponsors we would love to thank."

“I would like to thank all the people who come along to support us but in particularly the visiting Rotarians. We are all volunteers so all the money goes into education; books, furniture, and other community projects.”

Back in Melbourne, Almandin stormed down the straight to edge past Heartbreak City just before the line and win the 156th Melbourne Cup, giving owner Lloyd Williams a record fifth win in Australia's richest race and jockey Kerrin McEvoy his second win in the 2-mile classic.

McEvoy won his previous Melbourne Cup in 2000, giving him the mark for longest gap between Cup titles for a jockey.

Australian businessman Williams is the first owner to win more than four Melbourne Cups.

Pre-race favorite Hartnell placed third, making it 18 years of fruitless attempts by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Godolphin racing enterprise to win the southern hemisphere's premier race.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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