When the Caulfield Cup gets presented this weekend, the journey the cup has made will be the furthest thing from everyone’s mind except one man.
St Arnaud silversmith David Russ admitted he will sit back on Saturday afternoon and quietly enjoy knowing the cup so desperately fought for was manufactured out of his small workshop.
“I always have a bit of a look and make sure it is well presented which it always is,” he said.
Russ has been manufacturing the Caulfield Cup for Catanach's Jewellers since 2009, but has been involved in the silversmith trade of restoring antiques and manufacturing trophies for 30 years.
He began his career as an apprentice in Melbourne before moving to St Arnaud where his wife’s family lives. He started up his own business, DA Russ Silversmith Jewellers, and has not looked back.
I always have a bit of a look and make sure it is well presentedDavid Russ
“It was a great opportunity to move back and the town has been a terrific place for our kids to grow up,” Russ said.
Russ was instantly thrust into the racing fraternity of St Arnaud when he moved mostly due to his wife’s parents working as small time breeders.
His passion quickly grew for racing and in particular racing in St Arnaud.
He has become more involved throughout the years and now serves as the St Arnaud Turf Club president.
“With the family involvement it was bound for me to fall into this position,” he said.
“I thoroughly enjoy the role I have. Racing is very much a community thing – it is definitely St Arnaud’s biggest event.”
Russ has been manufacturing the St Arnaud Cup since he moved to the town.
“It might just be second behind the Caulfield cup I think,” he said.
Russ is meticulous in his preparation when manufacturing trophies, taking anywhere from six weeks for a project like the St Arnaud Cup to three months for the Caulfield Cup.
His impressive craftsmanship has seen him reel in customers from across the world, including New Zealand, Hong Kong and Denmark.
Along with the Caulfield and St Arnaud Cup’s, Russ also manufactures high profile Sydney trophies such as the Golden Slipper.
While he is involved in the creation of some of Australia’s most prized racing trophies, he said his restoration work of older pieces is something he enjoys most.
“I am sometimes dealing with pieces 250 years old. They are obviously very sentimental to our customers,” he said. “I love knowing that antique pieces will go on and get to live for another generation or more.”
Russ has just completed his work on the 2017 St Arnaud Cup which will be raced for on Saturday, October 28. He said his immediate focus has now turned to ensuring a great day of racing in two weeks time.
“We have done a lot of renovations and everything is looking terrific for this year’s cup,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get some big crowds for a fantastic day of racing.”