Around 5,000 people from around the world gathered in central Australia yesterday for the annual running of the Alice Springs Camel Cup.Camels were originally brought to central Australia by Afghan cameleers in the 1860s. Camel races are now being held around the country but locals claim the Alice Springs Camel Cup is the oldest and most prestigious of its type in Australia. All eyes were certainly on the main race of the day, which was won for the first time by local rider Dennis Orr aboard his own camel, "Partner".
"He made me really proud and he's a really nice camel," he said.
Cheering on from the sidelines was the Afghan Ambassador to Australia, Mahmoud Saikal, who has become a regular visitor to the event.NT Attorney-General Peter Toyne was to have ridden in one of the races but blamed a logistical problem at the last minute for not getting aboard his ride.
"I narrowly avoided a camel in the end ... it was looking very dangerous, they were going to put me on this evil-looking sort of bull camel," he said.
image from 2000 race