A total of 32 horses have been nominated for the second edition of Australia’s longest flat race, the $304,000 Haymes Paint Jericho Cup (4600m), which returns to Warrnambool Racing Club on Sunday, 1 December.
Nominations for the Jericho Cup, which is only open to racehorses bred in Australia and New Zealand, closed at 12pm on Tuesday, with race acceptances taken at 12pm next Tuesday (26 November).
The nominations include six gallopers which are guaranteed a start in next month’s marathon contest, having previously won ballot-exempt races.
They are dual purpose eight-year-old Ablaze (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace); Kiwi galloper Aigne, trained in Mystery Creek by Neil O'Dowd; Lindsay Park’s Da Deputy; last-start Moonee Valley winner Firefree (Cliff Murray); the Charlotte Littlefield-trained Hello My Friend, whose last three victories have all come at Warrnambool; and Canberra raider Ten Tigers (Barbara Joseph), who secured his place in the race by winning last Sunday’s Road to the Jericho Benchmark 85 Handicap at Thoroughbred Park (ACT).
The remainder of the field will be made up of the highest points scorers from a range of qualifying races held across Australia and New Zealand.
Torquay trainer Bryce Stanaway is set to have two runners in the 14-horse field, including last year’s runner-up Crafty Cruiser, the grand old warrior who would take his career earnings through the $1.1 million mark if he can go one better in the second edition of the Jericho Cup.
Other runners of note include last-start winner Where Are You, a six-year-old mare trained in her native New Zealand by Shaune Ritchie, who first came to prominence as the strapper for Bonecrusher, trained by his father Frank.
As it stands, the Matthew Williams-trained Plymouth Road is the last runner in the field, having accrued two qualifying points. The seven-year-old gelding will gain a start in the race due to a higher handicap rating than the four horses level with him on two points.
Should at least 24 horses accept for the Jericho Cup, the meeting will include a $40,000 Repechage run over 4065m – which was won last year by Hello My Friend.
The 2018 edition of the Jericho Cup was held 100 years after famed whaler ‘Bill The Bastard’ won the inaugural running of the race in the desert sands of Jericho during World War One.