CHAMPION trainer Gai Waterhouse has signalled her intention to run Frenzied in the $300,000 Jericho Cup at Warrnambool on November 29 after the lightly raced five-year-old won a guaranteed Jericho start race at Canberra on Sunday.
Frenzied defeated Da Deputy by nearly three lengths in Sunday's $30,000 race over 3400 metres.
The Jericho Cup, which is Australia's longest flat race run over 4600 metres through the paddocks at Warrnambool, is the brainchild of Melbourne philanthropist Bill Gibbins and honours Australia's light horsemen and their mounts.
Waterhouse, who trains in partnership with Adrian Bott, congratulated Gibbins for showing the initiative, vision and foresight to introduce the concept to Victoria racing.
"I've got to congratulate Bill," she said. "It's remarkable what he's done to get the Jericho Cup off the ground. He's dug deep into his own pocket to put the race on. The race acknowledges the deeds of our light horsemen. It's truly a remarkable gesture what Bill has done and it's run at one of the most spectacular courses in Australia. I can't wait to see the flat race run through the paddocks. I'm confident Frenzied will run well."
The powerful Ciaron Maher and David Eustace training combination look likely to have two runners in this year's race following the win of Dambulla in a guaranteed start race at Moonee Valley last Friday night. Maher and Eustace trained Ablaze to win last year's event.
Maher said Dambulla should be suited to the 4600 metres.
"He's had two starts in races over 3000 metres or more and won them both," the Winslow-born trainer said. "Dambulla has been a slow maturing type of horse who has really thrived in distance races. I've got to give credit to the staff at our Warwick Farm stable and Dambulla's owners they have been very patient and now they're getting the rewards."
Wil John will be the other representative from the Maher-Eustace yard in the $300,000 race.
Lindsey Smith won the Warrnambool Cup with Too Close The Sun this year and now the multiple group one winning trainer is hoping to add the Grand Annual Steeplechase to his imposing training record.
Smith, who has stables in Warrnambool and Perth, will be applying to Racing Victoria stewards for a jumps trainers licence and will call on the services of his stable foreman and top jumps jockey Shane Jackson to assist in preparing their jumpers.
"Since we moved to Warrnambool I've picked up the jumping bug," Smith said. "I've been watching for months the work the jumpers trainers do in Warrnambool and it really interests me to train a few jumpers. I'm in the fortunate situation where I've got Jacko working for me. He does a wonderful job and I'm sure I'll learn a lot from him. We've got a couple of horses in the stable that should make nice jumpers. I would really love to train the winner of a Grand Annual. It's the race all jumps people want to win whether they are owners, trainers or jockeys."
Meanwhile, the reigning Warrnambool Cup winner Too Close The Sun lines up in the $1 million Railway Stakes at Ascot this Saturday. Too Close The Sun scored a runaway victory in the Ascot Gold Cup at Ascot on Saturday, in preparation for the big group one Railway Stakes.
"The Railway Stakes looks an ideal race for him," Smith said. "He's a very good horse. His wins in the Terang and Warrnambool Cups earlier this year showed us he deserves a crack at better class races. The Warrnambool Cup and the Ascot Gold Cup are listed grade races. We're now having a crack at the group one Railway. It's a jump in class but I'm hopeful he's up to the task. He'll be dropping back in distance from 1800 metres in the Ascot Gold Cup to 1600 metres in the Railway. He's an on-pace runner so the 200 metre distance drop should not be a concern."
Smith's previous winners in the Railway Stakes are Old Comrade in 2001 and Scales Of Justice in 2016.
Talented apprentice jockey Laura Lafferty will be on the sidelines for eight meetings after pleading guilty to a careless riding charge at Donald on Sunday. Lafferty's suspension commences midnight November 17 and expires midnight November 24. Stewards deemed the incident to be in the low-range before handing down the penalty.
Luck plays a big part in racing and when it's bad, nothing seems to go right - just ask popular Warrnambool trainer Peter Chow. The former Port Fairy footballer was trackside to watch his galloper Pres De Toi ridden by Melissa Julius run an unlucky second in the Donald Cup on Sunday.
"It was hard to watch,". Chow said. "We just had no luck. Melissa was caught up behind them and had nowhere to go. It was no fault of Melissa's. We got out and the leader had kicked away. Pres De Toi has had no luck at her last two runs. We'll just go home and study the racing calendar to find another race and just hope she has some luck next time."
Jockey Dean Holland has been suspended on a careless riding charge for 10 meetings following his ride on Office Jim at Kyneton on Friday. Stewards found Holland failed to make sufficient effort to prevent Office Jim from shifting in resulting in horses being checked. Holland's suspension commenced at midnight on November 15 and ends November 24.
Jarrod Lorensini was outed for 25 meetings on a careless riding charge after his ride on Bolek at Dunkeld. The charge related to an incident approaching the winning post. It was found Lorensini permitted Bolek to shift out whilst being ridden along when not sufficiently clear of Keep The Magic. Lorensini's suspension commences at midnight on November 22 and ends midnight December 13. Stewards took into account his guilty plea and race riding record.