Bernard's Blog: 13 Mar 19
First off, this week I’d like to address a matter which was raised during every discussion we had at the venue plan meetings around the country.
No matter where we went the subject of stakes was raised and, more specifically, the “fact” that people had heard that thoroughbred stakes were going to be reduced. I can tell readers, as I told those in attendance at the meetings, that stakes for the remainder of this season will remain at the current level.
When it comes to the 2019-20 racing season, as occurs every year, there is a process which sees the NZ Racing Board advise the codes on funding. At this stage we are waiting to see what that might be.
In the meantime, it is business as usual and a highlight this week was a special announcement around the Jericho Cup to be run on Sunday 1 December.
The Jericho Cup, which was first run on the desert sands of Palestine just outside the city of Jericho in 1918, commemorates Australia and New Zealand’s light-house involvement in World War 1. Last December we witnessed the revival of the race at the picturesque Warrnambool racecourse.
This week NZTR and Racing Victoria (RV) announced that the concept – restricted to Australian and New Zealand-bred horses - will be expanded to give New Zealand-trained horses the chance to qualify for the 2019 event.
The winner of the Taranaki Jockey Club’s 3210m handicap on 28 September 2019 will be exempt from the Jericho Cup ballot, while the second and third placed horses will receive double qualifying points. To find out more about qualifying and the points system go to www.thejerichocup.com.au.
The 4600m race, which carries a stake of $300,000, came about thanks to the passion and dedication of Victorian philanthropist and amateur war historian Bill Gibbins.
In World War One New Zealand took 10,000 horses to war and it is poignant that just four returned to these shores. It is fitting that we can remember the equine contribution in a race devoted to their honour.
You can bet the Kiwi contingent will be doing their best to see the Jericho Cup joins the likes of the Bledisloe Cup in New Zealand’s trophy cabinet!