SUNDAY: November 24, 2019: AUSTRALIA’S longest thoroughbred race has captured the attention of young Hawkesbury trainer Daniel Robinson.
And he is “importing” leading New Zealand jumps jockey Buddy Lammas to help him hopefully win next Sunday’s $300,000 Jericho Cup (4600m) at Warrnambool.
Robinson has booked Lamas for his five-year-old gelding Dexluther, who is guaranteed a start in the marathon.
The original Jericho Cup was first run on the desert sands of Palestine in 1918, and the race was revived last year at Warrnambool by war historian Bill Gibbins to commemorate Australia and New Zealand’s light horse involvement in World War I.
The course comprises the paddocks used for Warrnambool’s famous Grand Annual Steeplechase in May.
Deluther clinched a berth in the 14-horse Jericho Cup field when runner-up to Warrnambool rival Ten Tigers in a Benchmark 85 Handicap (3400m) at Canberra on November 17.
Every starter will earn prizemoney from $150,000 to the winner to $3000 for each of the last four horses to finish.
Robinson has meticulously planned Dexluther’s program for a shot at the Warrnambool race.
A Goulburn Benchmark 58 Handicap winner over 2340m on September 27, Dexluther has had his runs spaced to ensure he is at his peak for the Jericho Cup.
“His next start was also at Goulburn over 2850m at Goulburn on October 8, and he didn’t start again until the Canberra race last Sunday,” Robinson explained today.
“He could have started in distance races at Wagga and on the Kensington track, but I wanted to give him every chance to qualify for the Jericho Cup, and he did that by finishing second at Canberra.”
Expatriate Englishman Robinson and his wife Alexandra purchased Dexluther through an online auction last year, and was the trainer’s first winner in a Class 1/Maiden Plate (2000m) at Bathurst three days before Christmas.
Accomplished horseman Robinson, who grew up at England’s famed Newmarket racing centre, rode on the flat and then for a while over the jumps before migrating to Australia just over a decade ago.
He trained for a short time on a stud farm in Queensland, and then honed his training skills working for David Hayes, John Thompson and Chris Waller.
The Robinsons operate DPR Breaking at their Orchard Hills property (previously Darley’s Coolamon Park), breaking in and pre-training horses.
It will be some story if Robinson can win the Jericho Cup with Dexluther, who 12 months ago was given a “poor performance” rating by RacingNSW stewards when he finished 22.5 lengths last in a Class 1 Handicap (1450m) at Muswellbrook.
Robinson changed the gelding’s gear, removing blinkers because he felt they weren’t suiting him and also doing a lot of work with him between races to help regain his confidence.
The Jericho Cup will be run under Highweight conditions, and Dexluther will carry 64kg, hence the Lammas booking.
The one-time champion Kiwi apprentice answered the call when he discovered Robinson was looking for a suitable rider, and was keen to be involved in the race.
Robinson is confident Dexluther, a son of former smart Sydney sprinter Written Tycoon, will manage the 4600m of the Cup.
“The further he goes the better,” he said. “I’ve kept him a bit fresh, but he’s fit and ready to go.
“He will be floated to Warrnambool overnight on Tuesday.
“The only negative is the prospect of a heavy track, with rain forecast this week.
“I hope that doesn’t turn out to be the case as it would make the race that much more testing. Dexluther’s two wins for me have been on good ground.”
HOOFNOTE: Dexluther’s jockey will wear colours similar to those worn by Robinson’s father Philip, who rode successfully in the UK and Hong Kong, when he won the 1984 Thousand Guineas at Newmarket on star filly Pebbles.
“Dad wore blue and white silks, not far from our navy and white colours,” Robinson said.
“We changed the colours slightly for our DPR Breaking business.”