NZB Airfreight Makes New Plymouth a Stepping Stone to the Jericho
14 September 2023
Warrnambool’s Jericho Cup (4600m) has quickly become a hugely popular target every December for some of the toughest Australasian-bred stayers, and NZB Airfreight is once again giving Kiwi trainers two golden tickets into the A$300,000 feature this December.
Saturday’s $40,000 NZB Airfreight Road to the Jericho (3210m) at New Plymouth is the first of two qualifying races to be staged in New Zealand this spring. The second will be the $50,000 NZB Airfreight Road to the Jericho (3000m) at Riccarton on October 28.
The winner of each qualifying race receives a guaranteed start in the Jericho Cup. As sponsors, NZB Airfreight will offer 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.
Inaugurated in 2018, the A$300,000 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 five years ago.
The New Zealand influence on the Jericho Cup has quickly taken hold, with the first four winners all bred on this side of the Tasman – High Mode (NZ) (Redwood), Ablaze (NZ) (Raise the Flag), Count Zero (NZ) (Zed) and Bastida (NZ) (Pierro).
There has not yet been a Kiwi-trained winner, with COVID-19 preventing New Zealand involvement in both 2020 and 2021. But Kevin Myers went close last year with Botti (NZ) (Jakkalberry), who was runner-up behind Bastida.
Saturday’s Jericho qualifier at New Plymouth has attracted a full field of 20, including the Myers-trained Mondorani (NZ) (Burgundy), who has won five races and more than $265,000 in stakes. His biggest win came in the Group Three New Zealand Cup (3200m) at Riccarton in November of 2021.
The NZB Airfreight Road to the Jericho will be run as Race 7 at New Plymouth on Saturday, with a scheduled start time of 4.37pm.