The second edition of Australia’s longest flat race, the Jericho Cup, will have a field of 14 when it is held over the Grand Annual Steeplechase course at Warrnambool.
The brainchild of philanthropist and racing enthusiast Bill Gibbins, the $300,000 Jericho Cup (4600m) is run on Sunday to commemorate the original Jericho Cup, a three-mile contest which was held in the desert sands of Jericho in 1918 and won by ‘Bill the Bastard’, arguably Australia’s greatest war horse.
Sunday’s field of 14, plus four emergencies, is headed by Ablaze, trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and ridden by Group One winning jockey John Allen, carrying 70kg.
The race is restricted to jumps jockeys with Allen a dual licence holder who has had previous success over the Grand Annual course.
Clayton Douglas also rides both on the flat and over jumps and won the 2018 Grand Annual on Gold Medals before winning the inaugural Jericho Cup on High Mode last year for trainer Anthony Freedman.
This year Douglas rides the Lindsay Park-trained Da Deputy.
Last year’s runner-up, veteran Crafty Cruiser, gets another chance while the Charlotte Littlefield-trained Hello My Friend has an impressive Warrnambool record winning her past three starts at the track, including the 2018 Jericho Cup Repechage.
Should any of the four emergencies gain a start they will automatically be withdrawn from the Jericho Cup Repechage (4065m) for any horse that accepted for the Jericho Cup but did not gain a start.
As with last year, the winner of the Repechage gains an automatic start in the 2020 edition of the Jericho Cup.
Two New Zealand-trained runners, Aigne and Where Are You, give the race an ANZAC flavour along with another four horses bred in New Zealand.