Emus race to save tsunami victims

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Web-based auction house GraysOnline has teamed up with the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) to raise money for the Red Cross tsunami appeal, auctioning corporate sponsorship and a celebrity 'emu' event at a Sydney race meeting 15 January.

Web-based auction house GraysOnline has teamed up with the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) to raise money for the Red Cross tsunami appeal, auctioning corporate sponsorship and a celebrity 'emu' event at a Sydney race meeting 15 January.

The Australian Jockey Club - along with bloodstock agent William Inglis & Sons - and GraysOnline are auctioning off exclusive corporate sponsorship for nine races at Inglis Classic Day meeting, held at Sydney's Warwick Farm racetrack on 15 January.

The companies are also auctioning off a spot in the ninth race, the Celebrity Emu Classic.

"This will feature sporting stars, including rugby league's Jason Stevens, rugby union's Matt Dunning and the AFL's Jude Bolton, dressed in customised emu suits, thundering down the home straight," AJC executive Tony King said. "It's set to spark some heavy bidding."

All proceeds will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Tsunami Appeal. "We are hoping to raise significant funds to aid the relief program and ask the corporate sector to continue their generosity by jumping online and digging deep," King said.

The auction opened 9am 6 January and would close at 4pm on Wednesday 12 January. Bidding for naming rights of the horse races started at $2000 a lot, with each corporate sponsorship package valued at around $10,000 including racecourse and race book advertising, TV coverage, hospitality and a framed photograph.

Bidding for Emu Classic sponsorship started at $500, King said.

Corporates should log on at www.ajc.com.au or direct to www.graysonline.com.au to bid.

Many other Australian companies -- such as IT manufacturer and distributor Cabac and telecommunications giant Telstra -- have contributed to the massive relief effort for last week's devastating South-East Asia quake and tsunamis that left more than 150,000 dead across 11 nations and millions homeless.

Telstra, for example, has boosted its offer of aid for the victims to $1 million, up from its initial promise of $100,000 plus call rebates for Telstra customers affected or involved in the aid effort.

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