The story of Bill The Bastard and The Jericho Cup is one of the great stories in Australian military history, yet one that is not widely known. Oakbank is proud to be playing its part in celebrating its centenary.
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, and was run over 3 miles through the desert sands. The winner was Bill the Bastard, probably Australia’s Greatest War Horse.
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.
Throughout 2017, the first three Australasian-bred horses over the line in every 3,000m or further flat race will earn 3-2-1 points. The final field of 16 will be determined according to total points accrued. Two races at the Oakbank Easter Carnival will be qualifying events — the 3,600m Handicap and the 4,950m Great Eastern Steeplechase (one of only two exemptions to the flat race only rule. the other being the 5,500m Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool). An exception to the 3,000m minimum race distance will be the Spring Stayers Series Final run over 2,600m at Morphettville in November.
The Jericho Cup will be held at Warrnambool in November 2018 over a distance of approximately 4,600m. The total prize pool for the race is $300,000, with the winner taking home $150,000.
Keep up to date with the qualifying for The Jericho Cup at www.thejerichocup.com.au