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
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)