Jericho Cup, a tribute to man and beast who fought for Australia during World War I

HISTORY: Warrnambool Racing Club chairman Nick Rule with former trucking magnate Bill Gibbins, who is investing a large sum of money to fund the Jericho Cup horse race. Picture: Rob Gunstone
HISTORY: Warrnambool Racing Club chairman Nick Rule with former trucking magnate Bill Gibbins, who is investing a large sum of money to fund the Jericho Cup horse race. Picture: Rob Gunstone

THE man who has put up a $1 million to honour members of the Australian Light Horse with a new race to be inaugurated later this year could not contain his excitement for his pet project when visiting Warrnambool on Monday.

Bill Gibbins has backed the Jericho Cup, a tribute to man and beast who fought for our country during World War I. The event for Australasian-bred staying racehorses carries prizemoney of $300,000.

Gibbins, who has made a four-year commitment to the 4600-metre race to be run at Warrnambool on December 2, said he was happy with the progress to this year’s inaugural running.

“It started off as a dream and now it’s becoming a reality,” he said. “We’ve had great support from Racing Victoria and the Warrnambool Racing Club regarding the race plus a positive response from trainers and owners.

“Warrnambool is an ideal place to run the 4600-metre race. I’ve got a really soft spot for here as I’ve been going to the May carnival for more than 40 years.”

Warrnambool Racing Club chairman Nick Rule said the Jericho Cup would develop into another feature on its racing calendar.

“The club is proud to be associated with the Jericho Cup and we thank Bill for his ongoing support,” Rule said.

“We’re confident with time the Jericho Cup will develop into a feature staying race in Australia.”

Nine permanent fences in the open country usually used in the Grand Annual Steeplechase have been taken down for the history-making race.