Albany will be part of a historic new WA racing venture, with the $100,000 Jericho Cup Qualifier to be run on the Anzac Day long weekend next year at Percy Spencer Racecourse. The Jericho Cup is run at Warrnambool every year and was first contested in 1918, holding significant war links after arguably Australia’s greatest ever War horse, Bill The Bastard won the first instalment. Approaching the end of World War I the Australian Light horse were planning a major offensive against the Turkish Empire. A race meeting was called over three miles on the eve of the assault to try to get the enemy to believe nothing unusual was happening. Every race of 3000m or more in Australia and New Zealand has points awarded to the first three Australasian-bred horses over the line in the 12 months leading up to the Jericho Cup, while a number of other events are declared guaranteed start races. Albany will be one of the guaranteed start races and will be the first track in WA to hold the Jericho Cup qualifier on Monday, April 26, 2021,which was confirmed by Racing and Wagering WA today. The winner of the Albany qualifier will gain an automatic start in the Jericho Cup final to be run in late 2021 as part of the Warrnambool carnival, while Racing and Wagering WA will provide $20,000 to help with travel expenses for horse and trainer to make the trip to Victoria. Albany Racing Club general manager Mark Bayliss said the announcement was massive news for the city given its Anzac links. “Anzac Day weekend is an important event in our town, and our race day on 26 April is a day of remembrance, celebration and Aussie spirit, a weekend of great significance for our community,” Bayliss said. “I think from our point of view this is an historic event and we really want to make this something Albany can be proud of. “David Hunter from RWWA has been pushing for this for a little while now trying to get an historic event that can be taken throughout Australia. “South Australia have got a race, Victoria have a couple and we’ve been fortunate enough this year to secure one for us. “It’s different, it’s unique and it’s going to be a great opportunity with what funding has been put forward by RWWA. “Whoever wins the race has a great opportunity to put themselves on the centre stage.” The race will be run over 3200m, two circuits of the Percy Spencer Racecourse, and be run as a 66+ handicap. It replaces the previous WA Cup run at Ascot over 3200m at a similar time of year. Bayliss said the unique event would also draw a big crowd on-course. “I just think it’s great for our town, great for our racing industry over here, and to have a 3200m race as a stepping stone to the Jericho Cup,” he said. “We’ve never held one (3200m race) so it’s going to be good to see the horses go around twice. “Some might think it’s all over in the first lap but anyway we worry about what happens after that.” ARC president Roy Rogers said lots of local participants would be searching for horses to compete in the race. “Given the history of the town with the Anzacs, I think it’s great for the town to secure this race,” Rogers said. “I will get in touch with Lindsey Smith for sure and see if we can’t source something suitable for this race.” RWWA general manager of racing Charlotte Mills was excited about the new venture. “Racing is entrenched in our history in WA and this is an exciting opportunity for a local horse to travel to be involved in the Jericho Cup in Victoria,” Mills said. “The qualifier at Albany represents a major piece of history in our State and we are thrilled to follow the winning horses’ journey from the qualifier in Albany to the east later in 2021.” The Jericho Cup final is run over 4600m and boasts $304,000 in prizemoney.