RACING Victoria CEO Giles Thompson admitted he got caught up in the emotions of Jericho Cup day at Warrnambool on Sunday.
Sunday saw the fourth running of the Jericho Cup in front of more than 5000 patrons, but it was Thompson's first visit to the race day.
"It's a huge event and I was glad to have been there," Thompson said. "The event and day really touch your emotions. It's a very special race day. It's a unique day and it is amazing to see how the community has got behind the Jericho Cup meeting. The community has really embraced it, which was the brainchild of Bill Gibbins. I've got to give a lot of credit to Bill. He's done an amazing job to make the day so special.
"The lead up to the running of the Jericho Cup was amazing. There was silence in the huge crowd while the Australian and New Zealand national anthems were played. The race day has not only captured the attention of people in Warrnambool and Victoria but it's got people from all over Australia and New Zealand involved. The Jericho Cup is like everything else; it's been impacted by COVID but we hope that's all behind us now."
Gibbins invested more than $1.4 million over four years into his Jericho Cup dream and now Racing Victoria has taken up the finances for the meeting.
"Bill came and sold his dream to us back in 2017," Thompson said. "It was a unique dream and then it came to fruition. Bill's dream has grown and RV want to see it grow further in the future. Bill's financial input has been extremely generous and we're very grateful for that support. We now take over all finances regarding prizemoney and trophies etc for the Jericho Cup. Bill will still be there in the future, helping us out with ideas on how we can even get more people involved in the event. We've got a solid foundation to work on in the future. I've got to acknowledge the hard work that the Warrnambool Racing Club has put into making the day such a success. The facilities the club are offering to the patrons since the works have been completed in the Matilda Room are first class. The south-west district of Victoria and in particular Warrnambool has a huge racing presence."
Thompson revealed Racing Victoria general manager of racing Greg Carpenter and himself addressed local trainers on Monday in a range of discussions regarding racing.
"It's important while Greg and I were in Warrnambool for the Jericho Cup, we also took time to speak to the trainers," he said. "We discussed plenty of issues and it was great to get the feedback from trainers on various issues."
Warrnambool race again on December 9.
Racing lost one of its most passionate fans with the recent passing of Tim Boyle in Warrnambool.
Mr Boyle, 92, had a lifetime involvement in the racing industry after leaving school as a 14-year-old with no secondary school education.
His involvement in the sport began riding ponies as a youngster before joining the Warrnambool Hunt Club in the 1940s.
Mr Boyle rode trackwork for local legendary trainers Jim Moloney and Obe Parkinson before gaining a B grade trainers licence in 1962.
He held his trainers licence for 58 years and was often seen in the winners stall, especially at Warrnambool.
Night Hue, Gay Pagent, Ruthless Khan and Brandy Habit were winners he produced at the Warrnambool May Carnival over the years but one of his great highlights was to train Bransfield to run third in the 1973 Grand Annual Steeplechase.
Deepest sympathy is extended to his family at this sad time.
Warrnambool trainer Patrick Ryan won the "best small trainers bonus" at the Jericho Cup meeting after Anirishman won a restricted race at his local track on Sunday.
The $25,000 bonus was donated by Bill Gibbins and is for the trainer with the least amount of horses in their name, including those currently in work and spelling, who win a race on Jericho Cup day.
Ryan was over the moon with the $25,000 donation from Gibbins and the performance of the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock owned Anirishman in the 1700-metre race.
"I've got to thank Bill Gibbins," he said. "It's quite remarkable what Bill has done to make the Jericho Cup meeting work. He's an extremely generous person. I've also got to thank ATB. I think Anirishman is the tenth winner we've trained for ATB since we started training horses for them. I'm sure training the horses from our farm is really helping the horses. It's just a wonderful environment to have the horses away from the track."
Winning jockey Michael Poy wore a black armband to remember John Knowles, who recently passed away. Anirishman has won three of his 14 starts.
Jockey Daniel Stackhouse will miss seven meetings after pleading guilty to a careless riding charge on Midwest at Yarra Glen on Sunday.
The charge related to an incident approaching the 600-metre mark. Stackhouse's suspension commenced at midnight on November 27 and expires midnight December 3. Fellow hoop Nathan Punch was also suspended on a whip indiscretion. Punch is out for nine meetings from November 30 till December 9.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.