Seven O’Dea’s in-form local mare Jami Lady...
A genuine staying showdown will take place at Warrnambool on Sunday in the Jericho Cup 2019 over a grueling 4600m and the markets have the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Ablaze as the horse to beat.
This season’s $300,000 Haymes Paint Jericho Cup (4600m) has attracted a capacity field of stayers with the in-form Raise The Flag eight-year-old Ablaze, to be ridden by John Allen, carrying the hefty 70kg topweight in Australia’s longest flat race.
The Kiwi-bred veteran was impressive at Gawler in late October saluting as the odds-on favourite in a BM75 over 3340m in one of the Jericho Cup qualifying races contested over 3000m or further across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and New Zealand over the last 12 months.
Despite going up notably in weight from 57kg that day, Ablaze remains the $3.30 favourite in Jericho Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au having been kept fresh from that last start victory for this special event organized by local philanthropist Bill Gibbins.
Ablaze was impressive in the jumps races over the winter and looks sure to handle the extra distance on Sunday in a tough endurance test taking place off the main Warrnambool course proper through the paddocks.
Hot on the heels of the favourite in the latest Jericho Cup odds is the early market mover Da Deputy for Lindsay Park drawn wide in barrier 15.
The consistent Dalakhani grey will come into 12 at best if the four emergencies in the capacity 14-starter field fail to gain a run.
Da Deputy has finished top three in his latest six starts including a runaway 11 length win at Wagga over two miles on November 1.
Jockey Clayton Douglas is booked to ride the five-year-old, the hoop chasing back-to-back Jericho Cup wins after taking out the inaugural event in 2018 aboard the Anthony Freedman-trained High Mode.
“Last year it seemed really odd that there were no jumps where we were going and they put up a running rail which gave it a completely different feel,” Douglas told AAP speaking about the Jericho Cup being run on Warrnambool’s iconic steeplechase course.
“For the jumpers to go through the paddocks they normally have to school through it, so a lot of these horses haven’t seen that sort of open country before.”
Douglas is confident heading into Sunday’s second installment of the race that commemorates the original three-mile showdown contested at Jericho during World War 1 in 1918.
“I think that shows he’s quite adaptable for the course and this sort of race as going over the roads and that sort of thing can bring them unstuck,” he said of Da Deputy.
“It doesn’t matter how well they can stay, if they’re not adapting to the surfaces and the change of direction, they can fire up and over-race.
“Hopefully my bloke can switch off and do it all right.”
Despite the size of the Jericho Cup field just one other runner is under $10 for the win with Firefree ($8.50) for Kilmany horseman Cliff Murray.
A seven-year-old son of Stormhill, Firefree took out The Valley qualifier over 2800m on November 15 from barrier four, the same gate he and jockey Tom Ryan have drawn for the Grand Final.
Murray also saddles-up $18 shot Alienated in gate five.
2019 Jericho Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||7276×11421||ABLAZE (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||3||70kg||74|
|2||01560×7339||PLYMOUTH ROAD (NZ)||Matthew Williams||Paul Hamblin||12||69.5kg||73|
|3||8×89821147||AIGNE (NZ)||Neil O’Dowd||Michael Roustoby||11||69kg||72|
|4||4×66222131||DA DEPUTY||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Clayton Douglas||15||68.5kg||71|
|5||270×734521||WHERE ARE YOU (NZ)||Shaune Ritchie||Darryl Horner (Jnr)||6||67kg||72|
|6||x033677604||ALIENATED||Cliff Murray||Bradley Thomas-Rantall||5||66kg||66|
|7||1251160941||FIREFREE||Cliff Murray||Tom Ryan||4||65.5kg||65|
|8||33L6x63432||GOLDEN FLAG (NZ)||Patrick F Ryan Jnr||Richard Cully||8||64.5kg||63|
|9||881145×476||HELLO MY FRIEND||Charlotte Littlefield||Lee Horner||7||64kg||64|
|10||2834348212||PRETTY MAMA (NZ)||John Salanitri||Shaun Phelan||2||64kg||62|
|11||0093033358||CRAFTY CRUISER||Bryce Stanaway||Ronan Short||10||64kg||58|
|12||27600×6571||TEN TIGERS||Barbara Joseph||Arron Lynch||16||64kg||57|
|13||8547436162||DEXLUTHER||Daniel Robinson||Buddy Lammas||17||64kg||52|
|14||2095824973||VENTURA HIGHWAY||Bryce Stanaway||Will Gordon||14||64kg||49|
|15e||3214×05048||BEMBOKA QUEEN||Jack Laing||–||1||64kg||65|
|16e||7492533143||WOLFE TONE (NZ)||Francis Finnegan||–||13||64kg||62|
|17e||5033512325||GOLDEN GEE||Greg Hayes||–||18||64kg||60|
|18e||8302572660||CUBAN FIGHTER||Darren Kolpin||–||9||64kg||53|
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