David and Emmalee Browne  Photo: Trish Dunell

The Browne's have their sights set on the long road, The Jericho Cup

Patrick Bartley
26 November 2021

For David Browne there is just one more assignment that the Kiwi trainer must fulfil before heading home after being in Australia for nearly five months.

With a COVID confusion Browne was forced to stay with his horses, two of which Rhinoceros and Elephant, established themselves as horses of the future.

But it will be with a difference next Sunday when his jumper of the future, Border Leicester, takes his place in the $300,000 Jericho Cup at Warrnambool racecourse.

The Jericho Cup, which bears much deep-seated history for Australia and New Zealand, is arguably the longest flat horse race in the world.

And at 4800 metres only the truly tough manage to be successful.

The Jericho Cup has been run annually from the 100thanniversary in 2018 to honour Bill The Bastard, the Australian light horseman and their magnificent mounts – The Whalers, 1914 to 1918.

After the disaster of the Gallipoli landing they collectively formed the spearhead of the allied forces in the Middle East.  

These forces annihilated the Turks and drove them from the Holy Land.

The first world war calamity saw Bill The Bastard run between groups of allied troops.

But on Sunday while a full field will face the starter, the Jericho Cup has much symbolism of what went on in the deserts of the Middle East over a hundred years ago.

And David Browne who purchased Border Leicester for just $20,000, was intent on making a jumper of him.

“We bought him with the long-term view of jumping him but we’re just taking him through his paces and the Jericho Cup loomed as an ideal race.

“He’s hard and tough and we don’t really have long distance races at home that would suit him. 

“The turning and uphill and downhill layout of Warrnambool will suit him perfectly and I think it will be a race that will be very much to his liking.

“But I don’t think there is any other longer flat race in Australia or for that matter, the world, so there is a little bit of wait and see.

“Unlike the other horses who have all gone home, Border Leicester will stay in Australia and be groomed for some hurdle races,” he said.

On Sunday due to the COVID restrictions only five thousand people can be trackside to watch this epic staying test.

And on December 1 Browne’s long Australian stay will end and the Kiwi will return to his family and vast stable that evening.

For most that attend this remarkable day of racing each December goes down to not only a brilliant spectacle but a time to stop and pause what the Anzac’s went through all those years ago.

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