Who would've thought a Northern Grampians jeweller and silversmith are responsible for creating some of the most prestigious trophies in Australian horse racing?
Russ Studios owners and operators David and Karen Russ have earned the right to produce some stunning pieces of silverware, with their most recent creation, the Sydney Cup, ready for the winner on Saturday, April 17.
Russ Studios have a jeweller in St Arnaud and have expanded with a store in Halls Gap, all while responsible for creating six different Group one trophies and the St Arnaud Cup.
Each year they manufacture the Golden Slipper, the Tancred Stakes, the Australian Derby, the Doncaster and the Sydney Cup, and the Sydney spring racing group one, the Golden Rose and the Caulfield Cup as part of Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival.
Ms Russ said each trophy takes a great deal of time to create with fine details required.
"A lot of time and effort goes into creating the trophies," she said.
"If he (David) was working on a trophy full time, a Golden Slipper might take four weeks, and the Caulfield Cup takes longer because that is hand-raised and it is nine-carat gold, which is quite hard to work with, and that can take about three months.
"For each trophy, there is not only the large owner's trophy, but there is also the smaller trophies for the jockey and trainer.
"I am a jeweller, and I work 'on the bench', so things like the Golden Slipper, there is a little gold bow brooch that sits on the front of the actual shoe, so I work on that.
"And I do quite a bit of work on some trophies where there are some trophies sculpted and the Golden Rose was one I also got to design."
Ms Russ said her husband has been working as silversmiths for about 35 years.
They have looked after some of the Australian Turf Club's trophies for about six years and the Caulfield Cup since 2009.
"David has been a silversmith for 35 years and used to do a lot of restoration works," she said.
"Our name got passed on for the Caufield Cup as someone who may be able to make that and Dave had a mentor at the time who was a well-experienced silversmith and who in his time had made plenty of Caulfield and Melbourne Cup's and with his help and guidance Dave started manufacturing."
"They then went into a partnership and that helped us get the tender to manufacture some trophies for the Australian Turf Club. We also look after the St Arnaud Cup each year, we can't forget about that."
The Sydney Cup is the longest race held at Randwick each year at 3200 metres, with a total prize pool of $2,000,000.
The field is set at handicap conditions for horses three years old and older, with the 2021 winner set to take home a fine creation borne from the Northern Grampians.
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