Following the success of December’s revival of century-old horse race, the Jericho Cup, Racing Victoria (RV) and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) have today announced that the concept will be expanded to provide New Zealand-trained horses the chance to qualify for the 2019 edition.
The Jericho Cup, which was first run on the desert sands of Palestine just outside the city of Jericho in 1918, commemorates Australia and New Zealand’s light-horse involvement in World War 1.
The flat race is run over 4600m at Victoria’s picturesque Warrnambool Racecourse and, in keeping with the tradition of the original Jericho Cup, is only open to horses which were conceived and born in Australia or New Zealand.
The $300,000 race, which is the brainchild of Victorian philanthropist and amateur war historian Bill Gibbins, is conducted on the same course as the Grand Annual Steeplechase under Benchmark 90 handicap conditions with jumps jockeys in the saddle.
Thanks to the expansion announced today, New Zealand-trained horses will now have the opportunity to secure a berth in the 2019 Jericho Cup with a ‘guaranteed start’ race to be run at Taranaki Racecourse over 3210m on 28 September 2019.
The winner of the Taranaki feature will be exempt from the Jericho Cup ballot, while the second and third placed horses will receive double qualifying points to assist their efforts to secure a start in the unique Australian race.
In addition to the guaranteed start race at Taranaki, the first three New Zealand or Australian-bred horses across the line in all flat races over 3000m or further in New Zealand will be awarded qualifying points on a 3-2-1 basis.
The 130th Hospitality NZ Canterbury New Zealand Grand National Hurdle (4200m) at Riccarton Park racecourse in August will also be the only jumps race in New Zealand where horses can earn points towards the Jericho Cup.
This mirrors the current points earning process for Australian-based horses which commenced on 2 December 2018 with the running of the Jericho Cup Consolation Race where the Charlotte Littlefield-trained Hello My Friend claimed first place and a guaranteed start in this year’s Jericho Cup.
The Anthony Freedman-trained High Mode, a New Zealand bred son of Redwood, was the inaugural winner of the Jericho Cup in December of last year.
To view the current points tally for the 2019 Jericho Cup visit http://www.thejerichocup.com.au/points.html