Wil John Wins Jericho Cup in a Thriller

Mark Smith - Sunday November 28

Third in the race twelve months ago, the favourite Wil John outlasted the gallant Budd Fox in a stirring length of straight dual in Sunday’s $304,000 Haymes Paint Jericho Cup (4600m) at Warrnambool.

A well done pat for Wil John (image Alice Miles/Racing Photos)

Under the topweight of 70kgs, Will John was afforded every chance with a ground saving ride by Will Gordon.

Trained by Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, the 6yo son of Reset defeated the Henry Dwyer-trained Budd Fox (Foxwedge) by a length with the winner’s stablemate Heberite (Raise The Flag) a further 13-lengths back in third.

The winner of the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown back in August, Will John advances his record to ten wins, five seconds and three thirds from 25 starts with earnings of $609,725.

“It really is something special. I didn’t get down last year, but the club and Bill Gibbons have done a fantastic job of promoting this race,” Maher said.

“To win it for Colin and Janice McKenna and connections is unbelievable.

“He is a special horse. His mother was one of the first yearlings I bought for Colin and Janice.”  

The wide angle needed for the winners photo (image Alice Miles/Racing Photos)

Col McKenna said Bill Gibbons deserves all the praise for developing the race and denoted his share of the prizemoney to Gibbons.

“It is an absolute credit to people like Bill Gibbons for putting this race on,” McKenna said. “Nobody gives him the credit he deserves.

“He put up $1.2 million of his own money, his own money, to support this race for four years.

“I think it is unbelievable.

“My father, fathers in law and uncles all went to war, so this is bloody special.

“We bred this horse and all our friends are in him. There are 200 supporters here today. Janice and I love the horse.”  

There is a sad footnote to the race as Wil John’s dam Arohanui died ten days ago.

Ciaron Maher had purchased Arohanui for $30,000 out of the Oakford Thoroughbred Farm draft at the 2010 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.

The daughter of Bianconi (USA) showed ability with two wins and three places from five starts. From the family of Group 1 AJC Sires' Produce Stakes winner Alf and Group III BATC Doomben Stakes winner Gladfull, Arohanui’s first three foals are winners.

She has a 2yo colt by Street boss, a yearling filly by Impending and foaled a Puissance De Lune (IRE) filly in September.


Race Result - Haymes Paint Jericho Cup-Bm90 4600m

Warrnambool Track: Good(3) Time: 5:21.03
Wil John
T: C Maher & D Eustace J: W Gordon 70
6g Reset (AUS) x Arohanui (AUS) (Bianconi (USA))
Budd Fox
T: Henry Dwyer J: A Lynch 66
6g Foxwedge (AUS) x Banker's Choice (USA) (Canadian Frontier (USA))
T: C Maher & D Eustace J: T Ryan 65.5
7g Raise The Flag (GB) x Arurite (NZ) (Rua Rukuna (NZ))
Master Poet
T: Amy McDonald J: A N Kuru 65
9g Mastercraftsman (IRE) x Rhyme (NZ) (Spinning World (USA))
Will To Excel
T: James Ponsonby J: Lee Horner 65
6g High Chaparral (IRE) x Essence Of Success (AUS) (Encosta De Lago (AUS))
Inglis April (Late) Online Sale $8,000
B: Anthony Manton
American In Paris
T: Symon Wilde J: Ronan Short 65
6g Americain (USA) x Manhattan Treasure (AUS) (Portland Pirate (AUS))
T: Peter Lafferty J: Nathan Newton 65
5g Dissident (AUS) x Caribbean Blue (AUS) (Astronomer Royal (USA))
T: Bob & Kane Post J: R O'Sullivan 65
9m Lucky Unicorn (AUS) x Zabex (AUS) (Zabeel (NZ))
T: Symon Wilde J: L C Williams 65
5g Toronado (IRE) x Boracay (AUS) (Red Ransom (USA))
Inglis Premier Yearling Sale $85,000
V:Blue Gum Farm, Euroa
B: Wilde Racing Pty Ltd
T: T Cottier J: Megan Dunseath 65
9g Delightful Choice (AUS) x Time Is Tight (AUS) (Majaahed (USA))
Inglis Great Southern Weanling Sale $600
V:Meadow Farm, Bayles
B: T Cottier
T: B I Stanaway J: Richard O'Donoghue 65
6g Darci Brahma (NZ) x Obsession (NZ) (Bachelor Duke (USA))
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