ANZAC Day Horse Racing Meet offers Something Special
The Easter Carnival is just over at Australia’s at Royal Randwick Racecourse near Sydney. The next horse racing meet is on Tuesday April 25th which is a public holiday in the country for ANZAC day. This will be an eight race meeting and promises to be exciting. The Australian Jockey Club or AJC will permit free entry for past and present servicemen and women and also to their relatives in possession of their family member’s service medals.
This fine gesture is to honor the patriotic and brave soldiers of the country and as a further gesture the “The Last Post” will be played before the first race at 12:45pm. Those present are expected to stand silent to pay homage to the men and women who have, or are at the present, serving Australia in the armed forces.
There is a historic link between horse racing and the ANZAC spirit. An unusual horse racing meet was held on January 31, 1919 in Pontuary, Belgium that had been organized by the 1st Australian Division. These soldiers who were encamped in Belgium awaiting their return home to Australia following the signing of the Armistice at Versailles in November 1918 were restless and bored. In order to pass their time till the ships arrived to take them home the Division started the “First Divisional Racing Club” and organized a horse racing event of seven races. The races featured some of the horses that had been with them throughout their battles at Gallipoli, Egypt and on the Western Front.
The AJC has a reproduction of the race book from that historic meet and this important piece of racing and WWI history will be printed as part of the ANZAC day Racing meet official race book.