Jericho Cup Opportunity for Southern Staying Stars

22 October 2021

2020 NZB Airfreight Road to Jericho Heat 2 winner Dragon Storm (NZ).

Saturday’s $40,000 NZB Airfreight Road to the Jericho (3000m) at Riccarton Park gives a talented group of stayers in the South Island an ideal stepping stone towards bigger and better things in the coming weeks. 

Last year’s race was won by northern raider Dragon Storm (NZ) (Shocking), who delivered a repeat result in the $250,000 Group Three New Zealand Cup (3200m) at Riccarton at his next start. But Saturday’s staying test could also put its winner on an even more exciting road towards the A$300,000 Jericho Cup (4600m) at Warrnambool on 28 November.

The Jericho Cup is open to Australian and New Zealand-bred horses only, commemorating the light horse involvement in World War I and run on the fourth Sunday after the Group One Melbourne Cup (3200m). The original Jericho Cup was run in 1918 over three miles through desert sands. Its 100th anniversary was marked with the introduction of the modern Jericho Cup three years ago.

Saturday’s race at Riccarton Park is the second of two qualifying heats staged in New Zealand each spring. The first heat was run at New Plymouth last month and won by champion jumper The Cossack (NZ) (Mastercraftsman). The winner of each race receives a guaranteed start in the Jericho Cup at Warrnambool on November 29.

As sponsors, NZB Airfreight offers a $5,000 equine airfreight credit for the winner of each qualifying race, should they decide to travel across the Tasman and contest the Jericho Cup.

This year’s NZB Airfreight Road to the Jericho has attracted a field of eight, including Listed winner Madam De Soir (NZ) (Raise The Flag), Group Three Wellington Cup (3200m) placegetter Bluey’s Chance (NZ) (Remind), and the talented Amazing Az (NZ) (Azamour), whose trainer Chris Gibbs won this race and the New Zealand Cup with Dragon Storm last season.

The NZB Airfreight Road to the Jericho will be run as Race 6 at Riccarton Park on Saturday with a start time of 2.40pm.

2021 NZB Airfreight Road to Jericho Heat 2 Field
1 Madam De Soir 6 Madam De Soir (NZ) (Raise The Flag) is a proven black-type performer, winning the Listed Dunedin Gold Cup (2400m) at Wingatui earlier this year. She has had a total of 69 starts for eight wins, nine placings and almost $120,000 in stakes. After racing over 1800m and 2000m in her two lead-up starts, she is set to appreciate the extra distance of Saturday's race.     Danny Crozier Kozzi Asano
2 Bluey's Chance 4 Bought for only $500 at the 2015 South Island Sale, Bluey's Chance (NZ) (Remind) ran the race of his life to be runner-up in this year's $250,000 Group Three Wellington Cup (3200m) at Trentham. From 55 career starts, he has recorded five wins, eight placings and $107,086 in stakes. 2015 South Island Sale Mr DL Mitchell, $500 Kenny Moore Tanya Jonker
3 Amazing Az 1 A year after winning both this race and the $250,000 Group Three New Zealand Cup (3200m) with Dragon Storm (NZ) (Shocking) last spring, Ruakaka trainer Chris Gibbs is back to try to do the same thing again in 2021. This time his hopes rest with the $60,000 Festival Sale purchase Amazing Az (NZ) (Azamour), who has had 24 starts for five wins, four placings and $73,292 in stakes. The seven-year-old has mixed flat and jumps racing in recent times, winning a maiden hurdle at Te Aroha by four and a half lengths on September 19. 2016 Festival Sale DM Logan Racing Stables, $60,000 Chris Gibbs Lisa Allpress
4 Queen Sweep 2 An impressive winner at this course in the spring of 2020, Queen Sweep (NZ) (Ego) has recorded five wins and three placings overall from her 29-start career to date. She won over 2200m at Ashburton on September 1 but has been unplaced in two subsequent appearances.     Sophie Hargreaves & Naomi Murfitt Meghann Gestain
5 Vermont 3 In-form mare Vermont (NZ) (Mastercraftsman) heads into Saturday's race with two consecutive victories under her belt, scoring over 2000m at this venue and 2200m at Timaru. The $20,000 Select Sale purchase has won five of her 40 starts, and she has won or placed in three of her seven starts at this track. 2016 Select Sale Upstage Bloodstock, $20,000 Sarah & Matthew Smith Corey Campbell
6 Sulu Sea 7 Although she doesn't win out of turn, picking up only two victories in her 32-start career to date, Sulu Sea (NZ) (Sweet Orange) has been a regular placegetter including in both of her last two appearances - a second placing over 2200m at Timaru, and a third over 2200m at Ashburton. She has been a previous winner at this track.     Daniel Champion & Kezia Murphy Kavish Chowdhoory
7 Wannabe 'N' Paris 5 Wannabe 'N' Paris (NZ) (Reliable Man) was a strong winner over 2000m at this track on September 18, then disappointed with a 12th placing over the same course and distance two weeks later. Two subsequent starts have produced a solid third at Timaru and fourth at Ashburton.     Paul Harris Bridget Grylls
8 King Of The Dance 8 Placed in the Listed Spring Classic (2000m) on this day two years ago and midfield in the Group One Auckland Cup (3200m) in March 2020, talented stayer King Of The Dance (Animal Kingdom) has been disappointing in recent times with seven consecutive unplaced finishes since May. But the three-race winner is highly capable at best.     Peter Corbett Lee Callaway