Four Virginia Gents’ Worried Man had no worries at the finish of Virginia Fall’s $40,000 National Sporting Library and Museum Cup, reaching the line 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Grand Manan in a modest upset on Saturday.
Trained by Middleburg-based Doug Fout and ridden by 2016 champion jockey Kieran Norris, Worried Man made a solid late charge that carried him past Armata Stables’ front-running Grand Manan, who was 3 1/2 lengths clear of third finisher Straight to It.
Rodriguez finished fourth, and Cornhusker was fifth in a field of eight timber specialists. They had finished first and second, respectively, in Shawan Downs’ Legacy Chase on Sept. 23, and Worried Man collected third money. Worried Man ran the National Sporting Library’s 3 1/4 miles in 6:48 on turf rated as good.
The Dynaformer 10-year-old missed the 2015 and 2016 racing seasons and came back to the races this spring, when he finished fourth in the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial. The National Sporting Library was his first win since an allowance victory at the 2013 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
The National Sporting Library was the first major victory of the fall for Norris, who missed the summer season after an injury at the Radnor Hunt Races in May. The Virginia Fall race was his second win of the fall championship season and gave him 10 wins overall, four behind leader Darren Nagle.
The win was the second of the afternoon for Fout, who took the Bon Nouvel ratings handicap with Beverly R. Steinman’s Reporter. Shane Crimin was in the saddle.
In the afternoon’s featured hurdle race, the $35,000 Randolph D. Rouse Memorial, Rosbrian Farm’s Officer Sydney drew away to a five-length victory over Giza in the racings handicap. Ross Geraghty rode the Irish-bred gelding for trainer Ricky Hendriks.
PathFinder Stable’s Cognashene finished third in the field of 10. Officer Sydney ran the 2 1/8-mile distance in 4:08.80.
Charles C. Fenwick Jr.’s Doc Cebu, a rising star on the timber-racing circuit, went to the lead early in Saturday’s $30,000 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup and rolled away late to an overwhelming 11 1/4-length victory in the upstate New York classic. Blythe Miller Davies’ and Charles Noell’s Sumo Power showed some power in the run-in
The $400,000 Grand National (Gr. 1), America’s richest steeplechase race, has attracted strong international interest, with no fewer than five overseas challengers among 12 nominees to the centerpiece of the 97th annual Far Hills Races on Saturday, Oct. 21.
One of New Jersey’s premier sporting events, the Far Hills Races will be one of the richest days of Thoroughbred racing in North America that afternoon, with America’s largest racing crowd. In all, purses will total $800,000, and Far Hills’ five stakes races attracted strong contingents of nominees. First post time is 1 p.m.
Willie Mullins, the 10-time champion Irish jumps trainer, nominated two stable stars, Shaneshill and Ballycasey, to the 2 5/8-mile Grand National, whose $240,000 first-place purse will go a long way toward determining the year’s champion steeplechase horse.
Shaneshill is no stranger to the U.S. In 2016, he came within a neck of winning the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) in Nashville. Owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie, the eight-year-old finished his 2016-2017 hurdle campaign with a second in the French champion hurdle and then came home second in Thetote.com Galway Plate Steeplechase in August.
Mullins sent Susannah Ricci’s Ballycasey and Shaneshill into Gowran Park’s PWC Champion Steeplechase as a tightener on Sept. 30, and they finished third and fourth, respectively.
Ballycasey has three wins on his 2017 record, most recently a dominant win over steeplechase fences in mid-May.
Joseph O’Brien, a rising young Irish trainer with both flat and jumps runners, nominated Katnap, a 10-year-old who finished second in Aintree’s Randox Health Topham Steeplechase in April. The trainer, son of renowned Coolmore trainer Aidan O’Brien, was a top flat jockey before beginning a training career that has had early successes.
Owner Robert Aplin and trainer Charlie Longsdon nominated recent winner Hammersly Lake for a chance at a second bite of Grand National purse money. Last year, Aplin’s Sharp Rise finished third in the Grand National. French-bred Hammersly Lake, a three-time winner in 2017, won the Sodexo Prestige Venues Steeplechase at Perth Hunt in September.
The American team is by no means overshadowed by the foreign competition. Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard nominated Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose, winner of Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) on Sept. 21. Bred by Sheppard, All the Way Jose locked up the 2014 novice title with a victory in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle.
Kiplin Hall’s Rodriguez and Armata Stables’ Cornhusker, who finished within a half-length of each other in their last meeting, will clash again Saturday in the $40,000 National Sporting Library and Museum Cup, the featured race of the 63rd annual Virginia Fall Races at Middleburg’s Glenwood Park. Also on the crowded eight-race program is the $35,000
Charles C. Fenwick Jr.’s Doc Cebu, a rising star on the National Steeplechase Association’s timber-racing circuit, will be the horse to beat in Saturday’s $30,000 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, the featured race of the historic meet in Geneseo, N.Y. Trained by Jack Fisher, Doc Cebu has not finished worse than second in his five starts
A new event, the Georgia Steeplechase Race Meeting and Festival—The Tradition Lives On!, will stage its inaugural meet at Kingston Downs on Saturday, April 7, 2018.
Indeed, the tradition of steeplechase racing in the Atlanta region will live on as the Georgia Steeplechase takes over the site formerly occupied by the Atlanta Steeplechase. The Atlanta Steeplechase ceased operations in May after 52 years.
But the new meet will not be the former meet with a new name. Its organizers—all fans of the steeplechase meet—are planning for growth, new attractions, and a more diverse fan base. “This is an event for all of Georgia,” said co-chair Anthony-Scott Hobbs. “It is the premier Georgia outdoor social and sporting event each spring.”
The meet is the product of a rapid-fire, grass-roots effort by those fans, led by Hobbs and his wife, Phoebe, who are owners of Magnum Contact, a software and marketing company with contact center serving the automotive, mortgage, non-profit, financial, and real estate industries.
Like most race meets, the Georgia Steeplechase will have three major goals: top-flight Thoroughbred racing over fences, a memorable social event for those who attend the races, and a benefit to the community.
The Georgia Steeplechase already has designated three charitable beneficiaries, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Trinity Rescue, and Must Ministries Summer Lunch Program. Selecting local beneficiaries, Anthony-Scott Hobbs said, is part of an effort to generate charitable revenues that will remain in the Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Floyd, Fulton, Gordon, Paulding, and the Pickens County region.
Among the new highlights of the race meeting and festival will be a Food Truck Furlong with a variety of savory foods; Vineyard Row, featuring wine tastings provided by local Georgia wineries; and some great bands for music. “You have to have things for different generations,” Hobbs said.
© 2016 National Steeplechase Association, all rights reserved.
website by Fairview Design