A talent-packed field, including graded stakes winner Balance the Budget, will line up Saturday in the $50,000 Valentine Memorial Handicap, the co-feature of the 48th annual Fair Hill Races in Northern Maryland. The 2 1/4-mile Valentine will be one of nine races on the traditional Memorial Day Weekend card. Pari-mutuel wagering will be offered on
S. Bruce Smart Jr.’s Orchestra Leader set all the pace in Sunday’s $30,000 James B. Holloway Hurdle and turned back a stretch challenge from Jack Frost to prevail by a half-length in the High Hope Steeplechase’s featured optional allowance hurdle. Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile finished third, two lengths behind Irv Naylor’s Jack Frost, and Barracuda
In the brief span of an hour on Saturday, reigning champion owner Irv Naylor experienced the disappointments and the highs of jump racing. First, the disappointment. His top timber horse, Ebanour, finished first in the Radnor Hunt Cup by a whisker and then was demoted to second for interference.
Then, the high. Never far off the pace, Naylor’s Jamarjo collected his first graded-stakes victory when he pulled away to a 6 1/2-length victory $50,000 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) at the 87th annual Radnor Hunt Races
Ridden by newcomer Graham Watters, subbing for the injured Paddy Young, Jamarjo stayed close to the pace of The Fields Stable’s Portrade, shrugged off a challenge from Special Skills, and pulled away to an impressive victory.
Special Skills, owned by Sheila Williams and Northwoods Stable, finished second, two lengths clear of Naylor’s Charminster. Portrade finished fourth in a field of seven. Trained by Leslie Young, Jamarjo ran the National Hunt Cup’s 2 3/8 miles in 4:30.40 on firm turf.
Watters, 26, a native of Ireland who has been riding in England for the last five years, arrived in the U.S. only on Monday to sample American jump racing. He had one previous mount, for trainer Young in Radnor’s maiden hurdle, and finished second on Meteoroid.
Upland Partners’ Mystic Strike missed winning the $30,000 Radnor Hunt Cup by the narrowest of noses on the racecourse, and the eight-year-old by Smart Strike was declared with the winner on the disqualification of Ebanour, who had reached the finish line first on Saturday. Armata Stables’ Wildcatter, who had won the 2015 Radnor Hunt Cup
The Radnor Hunt Races’ $50,000 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) completes the spring schedule of National Steeplechase Association graded races, and champion trainer Jack Fisher will be shooting for a sweep with a triple-barreled entry on Saturday.
The National Hunt Cup will be the featured hurdle race of the 87th annual Radnor Hunt Races at W. Burling Cocks Race Course in Malvern, Pa. Radnor’s seven-race program features large fields, including three oversubscribed races with also-eligibles.
First post time is 1:30 p.m.
Fisher, the NSA’s leading trainer by wins for the last five years, already has established a spring record for earnings, with $585,950 in purses.
Heading his group for the National Hunt Cup is Edith Dixon’s Schoodic, winner of the Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) on May 6. The powerful, willful homebred by Tiznow won last year’s National Hunt Cup. No rider was named.
Fisher also entered Petticoats Loose Stable’s Choral Society, a Grade 1 winner in 2015, and multiple novice stakes winner Special Skills, owned by Sheila Williams and Northwoods Stable. Willie McCarthy has the mount on Choral Society, and Sean McDermott will ride Special Skills, who finished fourth in the Semmes.
The National Hunt Cup would complete the spring graded set for Maryland-based Fisher, who grew up within 20 miles of the Radnor course. In addition to Schoodic’s victory in the Semmes, the champion trainer won the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3) with Scorpiancer.
Trainer Ricky Hendriks is having a stellar spring and will be looking to add to his laurels in the $30,000 James B. Holloway Hurdle, the featured optional allowance hurdle of Sunday’s 49th annual High Hope Steeplechase at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Currently third by wins and fourth by purses as the spring season
© 2016 National Steeplechase Association, all rights reserved.
website by Fairview Design