PLANS are going ahead for the running of the Jericho Cup at Warrnambool on November 29, despite the prospect of there being no crowds at the nation's longest flat race.
This year marks the third of a four-year commitment from passionate Melbourne racing fan and philanthropist Bill Gibbins to honour Australia's light horsemen and their mounts with the $300,000 race over 4600 metres.
"It's full steam ahead for the Jericho Cup on November 29," Gibbins said.
"We will not have crowd numbers like in 2018 and 2019, but it's still going on."
Gibbins said it was disappointing that there will be no big crowds this year.
"But we all know the reasons why and we've just got to wear it," he said.
"The trophies are organised for this year's event.
"The Jericho Cup is already a time-honoured race after two years.
"The amount of people who've shown interest in the event from all around Australia and the world is quite staggering.
"I would say the 2021 Jericho Cup will be the biggest ever if we're allowed to have crowds back on course.
"But for this year we've just got to keep the momentum going."
The first Australasian-bred horse over the line in guaranteed start races will automatically gain entry to the 2020 Jericho Cup.
The second and third Australasian-bred horses over the line in these races will earn double points of four and two respectively.
Guaranteed start races this year are at Penola on September 27, Gawler on October 23, Moonee Valley on November 13 and Canberra on November 15.
The New Zealand races are at New Plymouth on September 26 and Riccarton Park on October 24.
A GOOD RUN
VETERAN trainer Merv McKenzie has decided to spell his handy sprinter A Good Yarn after a consistent campaign.
From seven runs in this preparation, A Good Yarn won one race and collected prize money in another four races.
McKenzie said the seven-year-old was hard to place because of his consistency.
"I'm giving A Good Yarn a month in the paddock," the Warrnambool-based trainer said.
"I'll bring him back into work to focus on races over the Christmas period.
"He's just so honest in his races, and it is that honesty which makes it hard to place him.
"He's collected prize money in five races in this campaign which is a good effort for a country trained horse."
From his 24 starts, A Good Yarn has won more then $150,000 in stake money.
A Good Yarn's stablemate Big Reel will resume racing at Moonee Valley on October 3.
LAST Saturday's Makybe Diva Stakes was the first group one race at Flemington for this season.
The race is a wonderful beginning to the big spring features.
But it hasn't always carried group one status, and was not always known as the Makybe Diva.
The race used to be called the Craiglee Stakes until 2006 before being named after the three-time winning Melbourne Cup mare.
The status of the race was lifted from group two to group one in 2013.
Twenty years ago, former top Camperdown jockey Neville Wilson won the Craiglee on Go Flash Go for Geelong trainer John Blakey.
Wilson has fond memories of Go Flash Go's victory back in 2000.
"There's been a lot of water go under the bridge but it seems like yesterday," he said.
"The year Go Flash Go won was on a real heavy track.
"They don't get those sort of heavy tracks at Flemington now since they fixed up the drainage.
"I had ridden him into second place at his previous start in the Memsie, and after his Craiglee Stakes victory we ran sixth in the Underwood Stakes.
"He was a handy horse who always gave 100 per cent in his races."
Wilson's other win on Go Flash Go was in the 2000 Victoria Handicap at Caulfield.
WARRNAMBOOL galloper Tydeus failed in his attempt to win three consecutive races on Saturday.
But trainer Lindsey Smith said he was not disappointed by the run of the three-year-old in the Danehill Stakes at Flemington.
Tydeus finished in ninth spot, just over five lengths behind Doubtland in the group two race.
"Tydeus has come a long way in three runs," Smith said.
"He was running against some top class three-year-olds."
Smith said it was a big jump in class from winning races at Warrnambool and Bendigo, to be up against those type of horses in a group two race.
"We'll see how he pulls up after this run before making any plans for his next start," he said.
Tydeus has won more than $57,000 in stake money from his three runs.
JOCKEY Bridget Grylis will be on the sidelines for eight meetings after pleading guilty to a careless riding charge at Warracknabeal on Saturday.
Stewards found that, near the 1000 metre mark, Grylis allowed El Mahdy go shift inwards when not clear of Boom Boom Sweet.
Her suspension started midnight September 15 and will end midnight September 23.