Jericho joy for Freedman, Douglas

3 min read

By Bren O'Brien

A long-term plan has come to fruition for the connections of High Mode (NZ) (Redwood {GB}) with the 5-year-old coasting to victory in the historic running of the $300,000 Haymes Paint Jericho Cup over 4600m at Warrnambool.

The race, run to commemorate the heroics of the Australian Light Horse at the battle of Beersheba, proved an enormous success, supported by a crowd of 4500 as trainer Anthony Freedman and jockey Clayton Douglas wrote themselves into history.

After the pace was put into the race at the beginning of the second trip up the famous hill in Brierly paddock by The Dominator (NZ} (Thewayyouare (USA)}, Douglas sat back and bided his time, not launching his challenge until the field had returned to the course proper at the 1000m mark.

The race changed complexion quickly as Weave (Hard Spun {USA}) and High Mode surged to the lead with 700m to go. Weave's challenge was short lived and by the time High Mode had turned for home he was eight lengths clear with 11-year-old Crafty Cruiser (Good Journey {USA}) the only horse making ground.

Douglas doubles up

Douglas, who earlier this year had won the Grand Annual Steeplechase, on the same track, had time to sit up and enjoy the win, clear of Crafty Cruiser with Havana Haymaker (Teofilo {Ire}) making ground into third.

"He's a horse who is really good to ride," Douglas said. "You can put him anywhere in the run, they went slow early and then The Dominator took off and made a mid-race move and spread the field out."

"I wasn't really worried because I knew my horse would be strong at the end. He took the corner down the bottom the hill really well and we made our ground from there."

Douglas heaped praise on the preparation of High Mode, who was a $105,000 buy by the trainer at the 2015 NZB Ready To Run Sale.

"Anthony has done a terrific job with this horse. He's one of the best trainers in the country and you can see why. That horse was only fourth up today and after a trip like that, he could have gone another lap," he said.

High Mode

Jericho a long-term aim

Freedman had targeted High Mode at the race for some time and took him to a 3800m race at Wagga in August to qualify for this event.

Stable representative Brad Taylor said it was a particularly satisfying result to win the Jericho Cup, a race restricted to Australian and New Zealand-bred stayers, with a horse who had won just $60,000 in prizemoney before Sunday.

"We’re just rapt with that, it was a fantastic effort, it was a great ride by Clayton and a great job by the people at Pinecliff. It takes a hell of a lot of work to get a horse fit for a race like that," Taylor said.

"It's a great concept, the Europeans can dominate the big ones but it is great to keep it between New Zealand and Australia." - Brad Taylor

Crafty Cruiser took his prizemoney to just under $1 million with his second place.

The Jericho Cup is the brainchild of former transport magnate Bill Gibbins, who has funded the event to the tune of $1 million over its first four years.

Earlier in the day, Hello My Friend (Americain {USA}) raced herself into the 2019 running of the event by winning the Jericho Cup Repechage.