Payne’s Jericho Cup bid

Ballarat trainer Michelle Payne has set tenacious stayer Jukila for Australia’s longest race, the Jericho Cup (4600m).

The New Zealand-bred stayer has won six of 29 starts and finished fifth behind race favourite Wil John at Ararat last start.

“The owner sort of questioned me as to why I chose that race and not the Melbourne Cup if he was a good stayer, but you obviously need that real x-factor for the Melbourne Cup,” Payne said.

“He’s shown me an x-factor in terms of his stamina, but he doesn’t have the speed you need for a Melbourne Cup.”

Jukila was one of Payne’s first purchases after gaining her trainer’s licence and bought for $36,000 at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run sale through family friend Kevin Myers.

“I was looking for a Lucas Cranach because I thought he was a really tough horse in his racing days,” Payne said.

“He was always going to take a long time (to mature) and he was probably pretty far from being ready to run.”

Now a six-year-old, Jukila is certainly ready to run. And run. And run.

The Jericho Cup, Australia’s longest flat race, is a gruelling 4600-metre staying test held over the Grand Annual Steeplechase course at Warrnambool.

Former flat jockey turned jumps rider Tom Sadler will take the ride on Jukila, who is rated a $13 chance in Sunday’s A$300,000 contest.

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