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.
Irv Naylor, the NSA’s champion owner in six of the last seven years, will field a formidable team of Charminster and Jamarjo. Charminster won the 2016 Semmes and was second to Schoodic in last year’s National Hunt Cup and this year’s Semmes. Jack Doyle will ride for trainer Cyril Murphy.
Jamarjo, trained by Leslie Young, will have five-time champion jockey Paddy Young in the saddle. The Irish-bred most recently finished second in Foxfield Spring’s Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle.
The Fields Stable’s Portrade, winner of last summer’s New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1), opened the current season with a close second to Scorpiancer in the Temple Gwathmey. Gus Dahl will ride.
Virginia-based trainer Julie Gomena will saddle Stonelea Stables’ Balance the Budget, a 2015 graded stakes winner who won the Tryon Block House Handicap in April. Mark Watts will ride.
Here is the field for the $50,000 National Hunt Cup. The horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Charminster (Ire). 2006 b. g., Broadway Flyer—Monteleena, by Montelimar. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Raymond Cahalane (Ire). 2017 record: 1-0-1-0, $13,500. 2016 record: 6-1-2-1, $93,000. 2015 record: 5-1-0-1, $63,500. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $11,700. Began 2017 with solid second in David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2), a race he won in 2016. Finished second in the 2016 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) at the International Gold Cup, then was sixth in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Faded to fifth in New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1), then was third in 2016 Lonesome Glory (Gr. 1). (133)
Alajmal. 2008 b. g., First Samurai—Alattrah, by Shadeed. Owner: Gregory D. Hawkins. Trainer: Janet Elliot. Jockey: Shane Crimin. Breeder: Shadwell Farm (Ky.) 2017 record: 2-0-0-1, $3,500. 2016 NSA record: No starts. 2015 record: 4-0-0-0, $6,000. Finished third in 2017 Georgia Cup optional allowance hurdle, then was pulled up in David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2). Finished seventh in 2015 Grand National (Gr. 1) and was 10th in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). In first race in 14 months, finished fifth in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), then was eighth in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Bookended his 2013 season with victories in the Carolina Cup and Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). (121)
Balance the Budget. 2009 ch. g., Bellamy Road—Every Day Is Good, by El Corredor. Owner: Stonelea Stable. Trainer: Julie Gomena. Jockey: Mark Watts. Breeder: Liberation Farm & Oratis (Ky.). 2017 record: 1-1-0-0, $24,000. 2016 record: 4-1-1-0, $51,600. 2015 record: 7-1-1-0, $37,250. Won 2017 Tryon Block House Handicap after setting most of the pace. Kicked off 2016 season with victory in $75,000 Carolina Cup, a novice stakes, then was seventh in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and sixth in Saratoga handicap. Finished second in Shawan Downs Ratings Handicap. Kicked away powerfully to win Aiken Spring’s 2015 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) by 21 lengths. (128).
Choral Society. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Holy Bull—Star Singer, by Awesome Again. Owner: Petticoats Loose Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeder: Mayo West Farm and Liam Benson (Fla.) 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 4-1-0-1, $82,500. Pulled up in 2017 Tryon Block House handicap. Scored a 16.20-to-1 upset in 2015 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), then was pulled up in the Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). (131)
Schoodic. 2010 b. g., Tiznow—Aunt Henny, by Hennessy. Owner: Edith R. Dixon. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Edith R. Dixon (Ky.) 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $45,000. 2016 record: 7-1-2-0, $60,150. 2015 record: 4-0-2-2, $58,000. 2014 record: 6-2-0-1, $67,500. Won 2017 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) at Virginia Gold Cup after fall in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3). Won Radnor’s 2016 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3), then was sixth in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and fourth in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). (132)
Special Skills. 2010 dk. b. or br. g., Bernstein—Kentucky Whisper, by Southern Halo. Owner: Sheila Williams and Northwoods Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Sierra Farm (Ky.) 2017 record: 2-0-1-0, $10,950. 2016 record: 8-3-1-2, $178,750. 2015 record: 3-2-0-0, $45,000. Finished second in 2017 Tryon Block House handicap and fourth in David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2). Won Far Hills’ 2016 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle and Steeplechase at Callaway’s Aflac Supreme Hurdle. Sandwiched win in 2016 handicap between thirds in similar race and Belmont’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes. Finished second in Carolina Cup, then fourth in Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase. (134)
Jamarjo (Ire). 2007 b. g., Marju—Athlumney Lady, by Lycius. Owner; Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Paddy Young. Breeder: Frank Dunne (Ire). 2017 record: 1-0-1-0, $5,400. 2016 record: 5-1-1-2, $55,500. 2015 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. Finished second in Foxfield Spring’s 2017 Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle. Finished second in Belmont Park’s 2016 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1), then was fourth in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Won 2016 Radnor Ratings Handicap, then was third in Monmouth Park Ratings Handicap. (129)
Portrade (Ire). 2009 b. g., Trade Fair (GB)—Portorosa, by Irish River (Fr). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Gus Dahl. Breeder: Keene Bloodstock (Ire). 2017 record: 1-0-1-0, $9,000. 2016 record: 4-1-0-2, $111,800. 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $2,500. Opened 2017 with game second in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3). Won the 2016 New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1) after setting all the pace, then was third in David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) at International Gold Cup. Finished third in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Opened 2016 with fifth in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Ratings Handicap. (133)