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Apr 20

Cup of joy: Trainer, owner’s Christmas gift for Eva’s family

THE Sunraysia Daily Mallee Cup will carry more than just the promise of cash for one local trainer when it is run and won at Mildura’s Sandilong Park racetrack today.
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fashion plate: Celebrity fashion judge and presenter Larni Salathiel (pictured with the Sunraysia Daily Mallee Cup) said she was “really excited” to attend the Mildura Racing Club’s Cup Day event today for the first time. Ms Salathiel will judge Fashions on the Field and hoped racegoers would wear “bright spring colours”. “I’d like to see something more traditional that has a bit of detail in it,” she said. With warm conditions forecast, being cool might also be the order of the day. Picture: Carmel Zaccone

Mildura’s Colette Cooper is hoping her horse Malebo Magic can live up to its favourite’s tag in the $8000 event over 1400m and brighten two young lives in the process.

Should her horse win, Ms Cooper has pledged to donate her trainer’s commission to the Wheatley family whose daughter Eva died last week after a lengthy battle with cancer.

She said she hoped her prize money could help the Wheatleys buy their other young children, Isabel and Quinn, Christmas presents and spend the holidays together as a family.

“I just hope the crowd cheers on Magic and we can make the kids’ Christmas a bit more magical,” she said.

The horse’s owner, Jim Scott, has also pledged to match Ms Cooper’s contribution.

Mr Scott, of Benalla, said he doesn’t know the Wheatley family, but their story resonated with he and wife Beryl, as parents and grandparents.

“Colette told me the story and I thought, well, we’ve got nine grandkids and four kids of our own and we will match Colette’s contribution,” he said.

A crowd of more than 3000 is expected at Sandilong Park for the Melbourne Cup Day meeting today.

Murray Mallee Racing sales and marketing executive Sheree Watson said Mildura was a popular destination for racegoers, with visitors travelling from as far as Adelaide.

Big screens will allow racegoers to view the all-important events at Flemington before local eyes turn to Mildura’s main race, the Sunraysia Daily Mallee Cup, at 4.10pm.

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