All the glamour of the Birdsville Cup

The 2019 Birdsville Cup in pictures


Multimedia
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Photos and videos from the Birdsville Cup.

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The place was hundreds of kilometres from anywhere, the air was hot and dusty, and the accommodation was tents, campers and caravans, but in spite of all the drawbacks the Birdsville Races continues to shine as one of Australia's great bucket list adventures.

The two-day race meet attracted 8000 punters from across the land for the Melbourne Cup of the outback and the outfits on show were sometimes grand, sometimes wild but always visually spectacular against the backdrop of the sandy course, the blue sky and the red earth.

High winds brought a dust storm on Friday, hampering conditions on the first day, though the wind died down for Saturday, the day of the Birdsville Cup.

The improved conditions allowed the ladies to shine as they did in the fashions on the field where Nicole Walter of Hamilton Island took out the prestigious best dressed lady, while Samantha Davies of Hay in western New South Wales took out best millinery.

The only thing rough was the price of the winner in the big race.

Barcaldine trainer Todd Austin narrowly won the prestigious 1600m TAB Birdsville Cup with veteran thoroughbred French Hussler, ridden by Nyngan (New South Wales) apprentice jockey Clayton Gallagher.

A 50-1 long shot early on, French Hussler eventually paid $19 as it galloped to a win by a neck and then surviving an anxious protest.

The win nabbed Austin his second Birdsville Cup career win - following his Cup victory with Primed back in 2013.

Topping a stellar field, French Hussler's connections took home a massive $40,000 - a record-equaling prize purse for the carnival's historic headline race, which this year ran for a 137th time.

"We love it out here - our kids, aged seven and nine, have been attending the Birdsville Races since they were born. It's better than any of the big city race meets," Austin said, with understandable joy.

Stewards dismissed a protest from the trainer of Eschiele which finished second, while Java was three-quarters of a length back in third place.

As in previous years, entertainment, trackside hospitality and wild and wacky activities featured throughout the two-day race meet, with live music, pub festivities and Fred Brophy's famous Boxing troupe keeping revelers partying into the night in the centre of town.

Minister for Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs Stirling Hinchcliffe was on hand to present the cup while boxer Danny Green was also there as was official Birdsville Races ambassador, indigenous model Venessa Harris.

The two day meet was televised live on Sky Racing.

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