HAVING handled the course with no obstacles in the nation's longest flat race, Ablaze may well be
back to conquer the longest jumps race in May.
Ablaze trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace defeated Golden Flag by three-quarters of a
length with Where Are You back in third place in the $300,000 Jericho Cup at Warrnambool on
Declan Maher, who has done all the work with Ablaze at the Maher-Eustace Ballarat stable, was
emotional after the eight-year-old won the 4600 metre flat race.
"The Jericho Cup has been on the drawing board since Ablaze won the Houlahan Hurdle at the end
of August," Maher said.
"It's always great to see all the hard work come to fruition with a win.
"I said to Ciaron and Dave, he's an ideal horse for the Jericho Cup after his Houlahan win.
"It's a great reward for all the staff at Ballarat to get the win.
"Ablaze will have a short break before being set for the Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase in May.
"He's won his only two jumps starts and is an ideal jumping horse for Warrnambool.
"Ablaze is not a very big horse but is very nippy and that's what you need around the jumps at Warrnambool.
"I've got to give a lot of credit to our jockey John Allen.
"It was a ten out of ten ride by Johnny on a horse that was carrying 70kgs.
"Johnny saved a lot of ground back on the fence off the pace while the other horses were working."
Allen said he was confident from the 800 metre mark that he was on the winner.
"I had a soft run in the race," the Irish bred jockey said.
"I got to the 800 metre mark and was going good and then Ablaze found another gear about 500 metres out.
"I was left there wondering whether something would come out of the ground over the concluding stages but my bloke was just too strong."
Ablaze has won four of his six starts for the Maher-Eustace stable after running in New Zealand.
Warrnambool Racing Club CEO Tom O'Connor said more than 3500 people were on-course for the second running of the Jericho Cup.
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