Approaching the end of the First World War the Australian Light Horse were planning a major offensive against the Turkish Empire. In order to lull the enemy into believing nothing unusual was afoot, a race meeting was organised on the eve of the assault.
The main race was called The Jericho Cup over 3 miles through the desert sands. The winner was Bill the Bastard, probably Australia’s Greatest War Horse.
His exploits are detailed in the book Bill the Bastard by noted historian Professor Roland Perry. You can read Chapter 24 “The Ruse” on our web site above. It tells the story of the first Jericho Cup.
The Jericho Cup will be re-run annually from the 100th anniversary in 2018 to honour Bill the Bastard, the Australian Light Horsemen and their magnificent mounts – The Walers 1914 to 1918.
After the disaster of the Gallipoli landing they collectively formed the spearhead of the Allied Forces in the Middle East. They destroyed the centuries old Ottoman Empire and drove the Turks from the Holy Land.
Traditionally we have remembered the disaster and not the ultimate victory. Until now...
Owners and Trainers Qualifying Information
Well our first Jericho Cup has been, run and won. What a fabulous day it turned out to be. Not sure what my expectations were, but whatever they were, they were probably exceeded 1000%.
My main aim was to give the best possible foundation to build upon and that sure came off. Now comes the task of capitalising on that great start.
I personally know of people who came from Darwin, Katherine, Port Lincoln, Adelaide, Barmera, Druin, Melbourne, Wagga, Sydney, Scone, Kempsey, Brisbane, Mooranbah and Devonport. The only state not mentionaed is Western Australia, but there most probably was someone.
I'd like to thank everyone involved in the lead up and every person who walked into the course on the 2nd of December. You created an atmosphere that truly honoured the memory of the Australian Light Horse.
This years' event is on Sunday 1st of December. We can all work together to make it even bigger and better. Word of mouth is and always will be, the best form of advertising. Onwards and upwards from here!
|1.||Harry Bell||1,400m||3yo Maiden|
|3.||Banjo Patterson - Honorary Vet||1,700m||BM58|
|5.||The Jericho Cup - Consolation
(if sufficient acceptances)
|6.||Midnight Madness - Fillies and Mares||1,200m||BM70|
|7.||Charge at Beersheba Sprint||1,000m||BM70|
|8.||The Jericho Cup||4,600m||BM90|
|9.||Goodbye Albany, Farewell Australia||1,400m||BM64|
Racing is all about fairytales. For owner Max Walker, winning the inaugural Jericho Cup Consolation Race at Warnnmabool on Sunday was exactly that. A fairytale.
Max first floated the idea of the Jericho Cup soon after Hello My Friend's good debut in June. Even then, the idea of a 3yo daughter of Americain graduating to the longest flat race in Australia in the space of 5 months seemed rather fanciful. Bu Charlotte agreed to go along with Max's idea.
Anthony Freedman, Clayton Douglas and tough stayer High Mode etched their names into the history books with victory in Sunday’s $300,000 Jericho Cup (4600m) at Warrnambool.
The much-hyped staying feature – run 100 years after famed whaler Bill The Bastard won the inaugural running of the race in the desert sands of Jericho during WWI - proved an incredible spectacle with High Mode holding out popular 11-year-old Crafty Cruiser and Mornington stayer Havana Haymaker.
A staying race in New Zealand has been granted ballot-free exemption for Victoria's Jericho Cup as Racing Victoria unveiled a range of initiatives to encourage Kiwi participation in the new race.
RV and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing announced on Wednesday that a new two-mile race at Taranaki will be held on September 28.
The last race on Jericho Cup day will be the "Goodbye Albany Farewall Australia" benchmark 64 over 1400m.
You can also check out the website anzacalbany.com.au to see why.
A tribute to the light horse.
Around the time Bill Gibbins was putting together The Jericho Cup, Carl Valerius, a self taught sculpter, was putting together a statue of Bill the Bastard. Carl is based in Harden around 140km west of Canberra. You can see his sculptures on his website, now deemed to be a statue of National Significance by the NSW Government. billthebastard.org
Harold Thomas Bell grew up on a farm in Walpeup near Ouyen in Victoria. His eldest brother, Samuel, was serving on the Western Front. Harry aspired to join the action but was only 16, and the minimum age was 18. He decided to use his mother’s maiden name and say his father was his uncle and his next of kin.Read More...
Below is a link to the amazing story of Midnight and Guy Haydon. This is also found on the website of the Haydon Horse Stud in Bloomfield, which has been
operating since 1832 where they have reached 7 generations and has been continuous ownership. It is the place where Guy Haydon was raised and where Midnight was born and bred. Today the farm is run
by Guy's great nephew Peter Haydon and his wife Ali, the horses they have today have bloodlines that can be traced back not only to Beersheba but also to Midnight - descended from her mother, Moonlight
and her sire, Tester.
The contribution of the Light Horsemen and their brave horses during the World War I has been undervalued for too long and we hope to begin rectifying this injustice with The Jericho Cup. Not only were Guy Haydon and Midnight an important and integral part of Australian Light Horse war history, but the Haydon family and their stud are an amazing and valuable part of Australian history. We thank you and salute all of you.
Written and uploaded with permission from Peter Haydon. Read the story (6MB PDF Download)
The following is an excerpt from the The Western Australian newspaper. Wednesday 3 December 1924.
Memorial to a Horse.
London Dec. 1.
“In memory of Bill, of the Sixth Light Horse, 1914-24. aged 21; one of the best.” This is the epitaph engraved on a headstone surmounting a lonely grave under the shadow of Walker's Ridge, at Gallipoli. 'Bill' was a horse. He left Australia with the original Sixth Light Horse, and after the Armistice was con-cluded he was shipped to the Penin-sula and became the special property of Lieutenant-Colonel C. E. Hughes and his Australian associates on the staff of the Imperial War Graves Commission. 'Bill' saw the job through to the end, and then died.
Colonel Hughes, -who has arrived in London, said today that the work con-nected with the graves in Gallipoli had been practically completed, and only a few headstones had to be erected. The whole of the 44 cemeteries were in splendid condition. [Lieutenant-Colonel Cyril E. Hughes (the Deputy-Director of Works at Gallipoli) is a Tasmanian.]