The 1919 Melbourne Cup and 2019 Melbourne Cup at Yulgilbar Station. The 1919 Melbourne Cup was won by Artillery Man, owned by former Yulgilbar Station owner Sir Samuel Hordern.
The 1919 Melbourne Cup and 2019 Melbourne Cup at Yulgilbar Station. The 1919 Melbourne Cup was won by Artillery Man, owned by former Yulgilbar Station owner Sir Samuel Hordern. Regina Karon Photography

PHOTOS: Melbourne cups come to Grafton

LUNCH came with a side of history at Grafton Regional Gallery today.

Everyone was dressed in their races best to enjoy a fundraising lunch and revel in the prestigious 1919 and 2019 Melbourne Cup trophies that Victorian Racing Club chairwoman Amanda Elliott believed to be one of the most iconic in Australia - and possibly the world.

The 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour, now in its 17th year, gives around 37 regional communities the opportunity to host a piece of history each year.

Grafton and Yamba were lucky enough to be given the chance to host both the 1919 and 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Ms Elliott said it was an opportunity for community organisations to use the cup as a unifying force and fundraise for important local causes.

"The Melbourne Cup is so much more than a horse race. People travel thousands of kilometres to hold the cup," Ms Elliott said.

The 1919 three-handled trophy began a 100-year tradition with the signature three-handled 'Loving Cup' design that had one handle each to represent the trainer, owner and jockey of the winning horse.

When the Melbourne Cup was first run in 1861 up until 1919, the winner received a different prize each year, ranging from tea sets to candelabra and cutlery sets.

The 1919 Melbourne Cup was the first race where a gold trophy was presented, with its signature three-handled 'Loving Cup' design that had one handle each for the trainer, jockey and owner of the winning horse.

In 1919, the first three-handled Melbourne Cup was won by Artilleryman, owned by Sir Samuel Hordern, the then-owner of Yulgilbar Station near Grafton.

The property is now owned by his granddaughter Sarah and her husband Baillieu Myer AC.