Bastida lands Jericho Cup for Kiwi connections

There were scenes of joy at Warrnambool as the John Sargent-trained galloper Bastida (NZ) (Pierro) claimed the A$288,000 Jericho Cup (4652m) on Sunday in front of enthusiastic connections who travelled from New Zealand.

A New Zealand bred four-year-old, Bastida ($4.60), who won his way into the race after bolting in at Canberra over 3400m last Sunday, sat just rear of midfield and unleashed a winning turn-of-foot under Darryl Horner Jnr.

The son of Pierro finished the testing contest two lengths clear of the Kevin Myers-trained raider Botti (NZ) (Jakkalberry) and fellow Kiwi bred Epizeel (NZ) (Epaulette).

Inaugurated in 2018, the Jericho Cup is open to Australian and New Zealand-bred horses only to mark the ANZAC origins of the race, commemorating the light horse involvement in World War I and run on the fourth Sunday after the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).

The original Jericho Cup was run in 1918 over three miles through desert sands and its 100th anniversary was marked with the introduction of the modern Jericho Cup.

It was a special win for connections who have a family tie to the origins of the Jericho concept, with Bastida’s breeder and part-owner Mick Ormond having an uncle that rode in the light infantry with Bill The Bastard (Australia’s greatest war horse).

Bastida pictured with Nick Kneebone and Mick Ormond (right) after his Jericho Cup triumph
Photo: Reg Ryan (Racing Photos)

“I’ve not been nervous before a race like this, but the build-up to this is something special, I tell you what, this is something special,” Ormond enthused post-race.

“This is really good, you call him a New South Wales horse, Sarge (John Sargent) is a Kiwi! I’m a Kiwi, Bastida’s a Kiwi!

“It doesn’t matter where we’re from, it’s a wonderful bloody race.

“He’s not a bad trainer. He’s run 8000m in two weeks this horse. Have we got a longer race than this?”

The win was jumps jockey Darryl Horner Jnr’s first in the Jericho Cup,

“I’m still trying to get my breath back, I couldn’t even pull him up after that distance,” Horner Jnr said. “The race went to plan, we were probably a little further back than we wanted to be, but we were getting a good run following nice horses.

“I just bit my lip and waited, and he was too good in the end, John Sargent is an absolute freak.”

The win capped off a memorable weekend for John Sargent, who trained New Zealand bred Gin Martini (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) to victory in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) at Caulfield on Zipping Classic Day and Sunday’s victory again shows Sargent’s special knack for preparing stayers. 

Ormond bred Bastida in conjunction with friend Belinda Scott, the pair having raced the three-win Galileo dam Sirani with Sargent when he trained in New Zealand.

The stayer comes from the family of US Grade One winner Black Mamba, Gr.1 Australian Derby winner Roman Emperor and Gr.2 Wellington Guineas winner Rios. Sargent, who shares in the ownership of the stayer, purchased Bastida off for $41,000, with racing and breeding enthusiast Ormond staying in.

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