A guaranteed start in the $300,000 Haymes Paint Jericho Cup (4600m) is the incentive for the winner of tomorrow’s Whalers Hotel Road to the Jericho BM70 Highweight Handicap at Warrnambool, which hosts the fourth edition of Australia’s longest flat race on Sunday, 28 November 2021.
Tomorrow’s 3300m contest has attracted a full field of 11 runners (plus emergencies), including three stayers from the stable of local trainer Symon Wilde – who took out the third running of the Jericho Cup last year with Count Zero.
The contenders in tomorrow’s qualifier will aim to become the second confirmed starter in the 2021 Jericho Cup after another Wilde runner, Only a Mother, earned his place in the race courtesy of victory in last year’s Jericho Cup Consolation (4065m).
Like the main event, which commemorates the heroics of Australian Light Horse units in World War 1, the Road to the Jericho will be run on the famous course through the paddocks at Warrnambool, the home of the Jericho Cup since its inauguration in 2018.
All 11 horses nominated for the qualifying race were bred in either Australia or New Zealand – which is one of the conditions of competing in the Jericho Cup, a concept that was the brainchild of philanthropist and racing fanatic Bill Gibbins.
Gibbins said: “It’s hard to believe the race is now in its fourth year, and hopefully with the continued relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions a large crowd will be able to enjoy this magnificent course and its fantastic facilities when the Jericho Cup is run in November.
“With new guaranteed start races this year in Western Australia (Albany in April) and Queensland (the Gold Coast in November), the Jericho Cup is now truly a national and even international event, with a qualifying race set to be run on each island of New Zealand. Racing fans 6,000 kilometres apart will be watching the race with great interest on November 28.
“It all starts at Warrnambool tomorrow, and I’d like to wish the best of luck to every runner in the Road to Jericho race.”
Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing, said: “The Jericho Cup has deservedly earned an enormous amount of goodwill since its inception three years ago, and tomorrow’s qualifier begins the countdown to the 2021 edition of this unique race.
“The Road to the Jericho provides the first opportunity of the year for a horse to claim their place in the great race and the fact that it will be run through the paddocks at Warrnambool, so recreating the conditions for the Cup itself, adds an extra layer of excitement.”
A total of 11 guaranteed start races will be held across Australia and New Zealand this year, with the final one scheduled to take place in Canberra on Sunday, 14 November – two weeks before the grand final.
As well as the guaranteed start races, a points system will be used to determine the remainder of the final Jericho Cup field, with the first three Australasian bred horses over the line in any flat race run over a minimum of 3000m at TAB meetings across Australia and New Zealand earning qualifying points on a 3-2-1 basis.
Double points will be allocated to the minor placegetters in the 11 guaranteed start races, with the runner-up in tomorrow’s contest earning four points and two points awarded to the third horse home.
For more information on the Jericho Cup, including a list of the guaranteed start races programmed in 2021, please visit www.thejerichocup.com.au