Nassak Diamond (NZ) Secures Jericho Cup Spot
18 September 2023
A placegetter in the 2022 edition of the NZB Airfreight Road to the Jericho (3210m) at New Plymouth, Nassak Diamond (NZ) (Roc De Cambes) returned to Taranaki on Saturday and took this year’s race out in spectacular style.
The five-year-old’s dominant victory secured her a place in the field for the A$300,000 Jericho Cup (4600m) at Warrnambool on December 3, and sponsors NZB Airfreight will provide a $5000 equine airfreight credit to assist with the potential trans-Tasman mission.
Nassak Diamond put herself in this position with a supreme staying performance in Saturday’s race, which is the longest flat race on the New Zealand thoroughbred calendar. Ridden by Joe Doyle, she camped out wide in fifth place before launching her run coming up to the home turn.
She swept through to hit the lead at the top of the straight and didn’t stop there, opening up a commanding margin of five and a quarter lengths.
It was the third win of a 19-start career for Nassak Diamond, who has also collected two seconds and four thirds. She has earned $70,465 in stakes for owner-breeders The Oaks Stud.
Nassak Diamond is set to give a second taste of the Jericho Cup to her co-trainer Shaune Ritchie, who finished third in 2019 with Where Are You (NZ) (Ekraar).
“She was really quite dominant in the end,” said Ritchie, who trains in partnership with Colm Murray. “Joe got caught out on a limb a little bit, but he didn’t panic and was able to keep her momentum going nicely. She certainly proved down the straight that she was the best stayer on the day.
“She’s qualified for the Jericho Cup now. We’ve been there and done that before with Where Are You, who ran third at 50 or 60 to one.
“Nassak Diamond ended up running a lot more than two miles today, and I don’t have any doubt that she can stretch out over the distance of the Jericho in December.
“We’re very keen to get back over there again. It’s actually a fantastic week. They have a parade of light infantry on horseback, and there’s a lot of pageantry and nostalgia.
“The race is certainly getting stronger every year, but Nassak Diamond is a higher-quality horse than Where Are You. Having been there in the past, we’ve got a better idea this time of what to do and what not to do. I’m sure we’ll give it our best shot.”
Saturday’s race was the first of two qualifiers for the Jericho Cup, which is a hugely popular race that was introduced in 2018 to commemorate the feats of Australasia’s light horse units during World War I. Restricted to horses bred in either Australia or New Zealand, it has been won by New Zealand-breds in all of its five renewals to date.
The second Jericho Cup qualifier in New Zealand will be the $50,000 NZB Airfreight Road to the Jericho (3000m) at Riccarton on October 28.