Excitement is continuing to build for December’s revival of the century-old horse race, The Jericho Cup, with 36 nominations received at today’s entry deadline.
Scheduled for Sunday, 2 December at Warrnambool, the $300,000 race will be staged on the flat across the course proper and picturesque Brierly Paddock over 4600 metres.
The Jericho Cup commemorates Australia and New Zealand’s light horse involvement in World War 1 in the Middle East and is scheduled 100 years after it was first run on the desert sands of Palestine, just outside the city of Jericho.
Included amongst the nominations are three ballot exempt runners: the Symon Wilde-trained Doc Holliday, who secured his start in Hobart; High Mode, who was victorious in the 2018 Riverina Cup (3800m) at Wagga Wagga for Anthony Freedman; and the Darren Weir-trained Truly High who secured his spot winning last Friday’s qualifying race at The Valley.
Nominations were received from Victoria, New South Wales and Northern Territory-licensed trainers, with some of Victoria’s most successful stables, including Weir, Freedman and the Lindsay Park team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, featuring amongst the entries.
Torquay-based Bryce Stanaway has elected to nominate seven runners, the most of any trainer, while Warrnambool local Symon Wilde and Cranbourne trainer Charlotte Littlefield are next best with three nominations.
A points system for the Jericho Cup commenced on 1 January 2017, with the first three Australasian-bred horse to finish in any Australian 3000-metre flat race receiving three, two or one points depending on their finishing order.
14 horses nominated have earned points since January including this year’s Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m) hero, Gold Medals, who has managed to accrue nine points which will guarantee a start for Wilde’s Australian Jumper of the Year at the track where he recorded his May triumph.
The Emma and Lucy Longmire-trained Thunder Road, who captured the 2017 Riverina Cup, and the Anne Yates-trained Weave are other nominees perfectly placed to obtain a start with eight points each.
Other notable points earners who have chosen to nominate include, grand veteran Crafty Cruiser (7 points), Grassini (6 points), the in-form The Dominator (6 points), Barge and Charge (4 points), Penthouse Playboy (4 points), Bling Dynasty (1 point) and Havana Haymaker (1 point).
Lonely Orphan secured the last available three points for Tamworth trainer Lesley Jeffriess, following her win in the final qualifying race at Grafton yesterday over 3120m.
Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager Racing and Participant Wellbeing, Greg Carpenter, said: “To receive 36 nominations today is an outstanding response and it is great to see participants embracing the unique concept of The Jericho Cup.”
With weights to be released by RV tomorrow, Wednesday, 21 November, final acceptances will be taken at 12 noon on Tuesday, 27 November with the field released that afternoon.
A field of 12 starters and four emergencies will be declared for the Jericho Cup, with a $40,000 Jericho Cup Consolation to be conducted over 4065m should a field of at least 10 starters be assembled.
A $25,000 bonus is also up for grabs for the trainer with the smallest stable (includes active and spelling horses) who can saddle up a winner on the inaugural raceday at Warrnambool which will feature either eight or nine races depending on whether the consolation proceeds.