LEGEND has it that the ghost of newspaper owner George Adams would appear on the eve of the Melbourne Cup at his grand mansion in Albury.
The tale was told by school girls who lived at Adamshurst when it was a hostel after Mr Adams' death at the David Street home in 1918.
He held a Melbourne Cup lunch labelled Hooves With a Heart to aid Horse Rescue Australia, which helps abandoned, neglected or abused creatures.
Sparked by revelations of cruelty to racehorses aired on ABC television last month, the gathering in the Adamshurst ballroom attracted Albury MP Justin Clancy.
"The premise of both enjoying horse racing but at the same recognising the importance of the humane treatment of racehorses, that's a good strong message," Mr Clancy said.
The veterinarian said he could not imagine a day without horse racing in Australia but supported efforts to further modify the use of whips.
Father MacLeod-Miller said that the lunch was motivated by a desire to improve welfare for racehorses rather than end racing, something he did not think likely.
"I think it's profoundly unrealistic and if it wasn't for horse racing these horses would not be around at all," he said.
"If you say 'no' to that you're giving a death sentence to all those animals."
The archdeacon said providing thoroughbreds with another role was crucial, using a comparison to human performers.
"Ballet dancers have a limited career but we don't send them to the knackery, they are retrained," Father MacLeod-Miller said.
Having twirled around the room with his iPhone taking photographs, the priest then turned up the volume on a large screen television for the broadcast of the cup.
In a footnote that would have appealed to the news sense of TheBanner's owner, Father MacLeod-Miller then had the first two horses over the line in a sweep.
A case of having more than a ghost of a chance.