On January 21, 1842, a meeting was held at the Mudgee Hotel, then Blackman's Hotel, Market Street, West Mudgee, with the view of forming a race club.
Chairman of the meeting was Graham Douglas Hunter, who in 1839, had been appointed at Coolah as the Crown Lands Commissioner for the Squatting District of Bligh.
This meeting was adjourned and another meeting was held a week later at Sampson's Hotel, the Bushman's Arms.
The officers bearers appointed were G.D. Hunter, President, Henry Bayly, Robert Lowe, William Lowe, Richard Rouse; Judge Captain Furlong P.M; Clerk of the Course, Mr Mills; Treasurer, N P Bailey; Honorary Secretary, W Lowe.
Here rules and regulations were drawn up and it was decided to have a three day meet on May 17, 18 and 19, 1842.
The first race meeting was held on the river flats behind Putta Bucca homestead. For the third race on the third day, the Hack Stakes, seven horses entered, including Hunter's grey gelding.
The Sheriff carried off the prize. In the second race on the second day, the Innkeeper's Purse (50 guineas), Jorrocks, owned by G Rouse came first.
Tranby owned by Nelson Lawson came second, and Hunter's Roan filly by Gratis came third. The next meet was at Menah. The meets continued on alternatively until 1861.
Jorrocks was a distinguished horse at the time. He was bred by Henry Bayly, foaled at Bayly park, in the County of Cumberland.
He won his first race on the river flats at Coolah. Jorrocks was later acquired by Graham Douglas Hunter. Over his life he contested 94 events and won sixty.
Prize money at the above races often reached as much of a 1,000 pounds. Attendances may have been as many as 1,500 on each day.
It was not uncommon to see drunks chained to a stump, near the course, until the races were over when they are brought into the town by the "Black Maria" and locked up. Con men such as three card tricksters, were frequent visitors to the tracks.
Outside visitors from the north, south, east and west, of Mudgee began to swell the number of racegoers attending the Mudgee races.
Both at Mudgee and elsewhere there was a rise for a yearly regional racing carnival at Mudgee, highly supported by racing enthusiasts far away as Merriwa, Cassilis and Coolah.
Such a move had been mooted by Crown Lands Commissioner, Hunter prior to 1850, but the following year his services were terminated mainly for attending, without leave, races outside his area, some as distant as Windsor.
The Bligh Amateur Race Club was formed in 1874, at a meeting attended by racing fans from Mudgee, Cassilis and other centres.
The name "Bligh" was adopted as most of the interest came from area in or near the Bligh Squatting District. It was agreed that the first and second meetings would be held at Merriwa and the third meeting at Mudgee and thereafter an annual meet at Mudgee.
An issue of the Mudgee Western Post of 1876 reported as follows:-
" The Third Annual Meeting of the Bligh Amateur Race Club was held on the Mudgee Race Course". The weather was mild and although the day was not observed as a public holiday, upwards of 600 persons attended. The saddling paddock was reserved for members and their families, the general public being excluded.
A comprehensive coverage of the Bligh Cup of 1908 maybe found in the Mudgee Guardian of May 7 1908 and repeated in Roy Cameron's book, "When our Beards Were Black." Not only were the results of the two days racing given, but a list of visitors, plus a roll of the most noticeable attire worn by the ladies at the Bligh Cup Ball.
Doris Buckland of "Pine Ridge, Leadville, was dressed in a 'white crepe-de-chine, the bodice trimmed with sequine and chiffon.' "