The inaugural Jericho Cup attracted over 4,500 attendees to Warrnambool over the weekend to commemorate the centenary of a race run on the desert sands in Palestine in World War I to divert attention from the Australian Light Horse’s Charge at Beersheba.
The race is the brainchild of Bill Gibbins and restricted to Australian and New Zealand bred horses. Held 100 years after the ANZACs involvement in World War I, the $300,000 race over three miles (4,600m) replicates that of the great horse race amongst soldiers in Palestine.
After significant interest in the race and a restriction on runner numbers, the Warrnambool Race Club decided to place an additional race into the card – also known as the Jericho Cup consolation race. This race was sponsored in a joint venture for OTI and Secon Freight Logistics and provides the winner an exemption from the ballot the following year in the Jericho Cup itself.
The race was run over 4065m on the course proper and carried $60,000 in prize money and bonuses for any horse which accepted in the Jericho Cup but did not gain a start. The winner of the race (with bonuses in hand) was that of Hello My Friend, trained by Charlotte Littlefield of Hayfields Racing.
On course for the meeting, Jericho Cup ambassador Terry Henderson was pleased to see a vibrant crowd at Warrnambool and congratulate the connections of Hello My Friend in what was a gutsy 3L win.
In what was a very emotional win for Hello My Friend’s owners, Charlotte Littlefield was extremely happy with the mare coming into the race despite not making the field for Jericho Cup. She felt that the whole race concept is fantastic and they were pleased to be a part of it and take away a win. They are looking forward to giving the big race a crack next year.
OTI are delighted to have been a part of the day and are looking forward to the Jericho Cup becoming an annual event on the calendar for the Warrnambool Racing Club.