The Cossack (NZ) Qualifies for Jericho Cup
13 September 2021
Champion jumper The Cossack (NZ) (Mastercraftsman) made his mark in a different role at New Plymouth on Saturday with a hard-fought victory in the $30,000 NZB Airfreight Road to Jericho (3210m).
The eight-year-old is best known for his remarkable feats over hurdles, where he has scored superb victories in the Great Northern Hurdle (4190m), Waikato Hurdle (3200m), Wellington Hurdle (3100m) and Grand National Hurdle (4200m) within the last 12 months.
But on Saturday he was equally adept on the flat, surging into contention around the home turn before withstanding the late challenge of Brucie (NZ) (Raise the Flag) to prevail by a nose.
Trained at Hastings by Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal, The Cossack has now had 41 starts for nine wins, eight placings and $247,745 in stakes. Three of his victories have come on the flat.
Saturday’s race was the first of two Jericho Cup qualifying heats staged in New Zealand, with the second heat to be held at Riccarton Park on 24 October. The winner of each race receives a guaranteed start in the A$300,000 Jericho Cup (4600m) at Warrnambool on 29 November.
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.
The Cossack’s performance on Saturday delivered the latest in a long line of big thrills for Nelson, who also shares in the ownership of the remarkable galloper. However, qualification for the Jericho Cup has created a touch of uncertainty about what might be in store for The Cossack through the rest of this year.
“It was a great effort to win on Saturday, but it has placed us in a little bit of a quandary,” Nelson told NZ Racing Desk. “The horse has had a very big season, and we had originally planned to have the run on Saturday and then go straight to the Great Northern at Ellerslie.
“Now he has guaranteed himself a start at Warrnambool, we are going to have to sit down and make a decision about what we do. I don’t believe he can do both.
“He has really developed into a good horse, and it’s something special to win the races he has over the last year.
“I am a little bit wary of going to the well once too often with him. Although he looks a picture, you just never know when he might bottom out from the tough racing he has had.
“I guess the good thing is that we have a little bit of time to make the decision on what we are going to do, and we will be doing what is best for the horse.”