Owner-trainer F. Hill Parker’s Get Ready Set Goes, who won the National Steeplechase Association’s novice and female championships last year, will put her three-race winning streak on the line in Saturday’s highly competitive $75,000 Carolina Cup.
The Carolina Cup is the first stakes race on this year’s NSA calendar and is limited to novices, the sport’s rising stars in their first seasons of competition over fences. Part of the Sport of Kings novice series, the 2 1/8-mile race will be the featured event of a six-race program for the 85th annual Carolina Cup Races at Springdale Course in Camden, S.C. First post time is 1:30 p.m.
Richard Boucher, who guided the Ohio-bred mare to victories in Saratoga Race Course’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes and the Far Hills Races’ Peapack Stakes last year, will be in the saddle for Parker, a Lexington, Ky.-based real estate broker.
Those two stakes wins and a maiden victory at the High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington last May earned Get Ready Set Goes $94,500, which was tops in both the novice and filly-mare categories. She is only the second horse to win both titles, after Guelph in 2005.
Champion trainer Jack Fisher will send out DASH Stable’s Ice It, the 2015 three-year-old champion, and Northwoods Stable’s Signature Look. Ice It concluded last year’s novice season with second-place finishes in the Foxbrook Supreme Hurdle at Far Hills and the Aflac Supreme Hurdle at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia.
Fisher saddled four straight winners on the Callaway card in early November, and one of them was Signature Look, who scored in a maiden hurdle. Sean McDermott rides Ice It, and Willie McCarthy will be aboard Signature Look.
Richard Valentine, who is based at Springdale over the winter, entered the formidable pairing of Gil Johnston’s Miguel Grau and Check Mark Stables’ Willow U. Miguel Grau finished second in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes in September and then was third in the Foxbrook.
Willow U won twice on the Springdale course last year. She scored her maiden win at the Carolina Cup and then closed out the season by winning the Springdale Stakes at the Colonial Cup in November. Jack Doyle rides Miguel Grau, and Shane Crimin, a newcomer to the NSA jockey colony, has the mount on Willow U.
Thomas A. Hulfish’s Formidable Heart finished fifth in the Aflac Supreme Hurdle and then was a hard-closing second in a Colonial Cup ratings handicap. Trainer Neil Morris named champion jockey Kieran Norris to ride.
Camden-based trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. entered Mark Buyck Jr.’s Show Court, an import from Ireland who finished seventh in the Colonial Cup ratings handicap. The eight-year-old finished fourth in an Aiken Spring training flat race on March 25. Michael Mitchell will ride.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who maintains a Springdale stable over the winter, entered Bill Pape’s Castle Hill, a maiden winner who was fourth in last October’s Foxbrook. Darren Nagle has the mount.
Two overseas winners will make their first U.S. jumps starts in the Carolina Cup. James S. Carter’s Macnicholson, now trained by Jimmy Day, finished third in an allowance steeplechase in Ireland in January. Bernie Dalton will be in the saddle.
Barracuda Stable’s Red Hammer, a handicap winner in England who is trained by Ricky Hendriks, finished third in an Aiken Spring training flat race. Ross Geraghty, who rode three winners—two over fences—for Hendriks at Aiken, will ride Red Hammer.
Here is the field for the $75,000 Carolina Cup in post-position order. The horse’s National Steeplechase Association rating is in parentheses at the end of each profile.
Show Court (Ire). 2009 b. g., Vinnie Roe—Sparking Gem, by Revoque. Owner: Mark W. Buyck Jr. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: Grange Stud (Ire). 2016 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Finished seventh in Colonial Cup ratings handicap after debut 10th in International Gold Cup flat race. Won maiden over hurdles in Ireland in late 2015. (115)
Formidable Heart. 2010 b. g., Dynaformer—Win My Heart, by King of Kings (Ire). Owner: Thomas A. Hulfish. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeders: Liberation Farm, Kathy Zoc, and the Dynaformer Syndicate (Ky.) 2016 record: 4-2-1-0, $49,500. 2015 record: 3-0-1-0, $5,100. Showed plenty of heart in winning 2016 International Gold Cup allowance hurdle by three-quarters of a length after easy score in Virginia Fall maiden hurdle. Finished fifth in Aflac Supreme Hurdle and concluded 2016 season with second in Colonial Cup ratings handicap. (121)
Macnicholson (Ire). 2009 b. g., Definite Article (GB)—Heroic Performer, by Royal Applause (GB). Owner: James S. Carter. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeder: D. Shine (Ire). 2016 NSA record: No starts. Finished third in a steeplechase allowance at Gowell in January. Looking for first victory since August 2015.
Red Hammer (GB). 2012 b. g., Falco—Vole de Printemps, by Della Francesca. Owner: Barracuda Stable. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Pontchartrain Stud (GB). 2016 NSA record: No starts. Raced in England’s juvenile handicap ranks in 2016 and secured first career victory in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, in March. (114)
Miguel Grau. 2010 b. g., City Zip—Zuri Ridge, by Cox’s Ridge. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Sea Horse Breeders (Ky.) 2016 record: 6-1-1-2, $50,850. 2015 record: 6-1-1-1, $34,200. Finished second in Belmont’s 2016 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes, then was third in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Won Suffolk Downs Ratings Handicap by 9 3/4 lengths, then finished fifth in Saratoga overnight handicap. Finished fourth in 2016 Georgia Cup optional allowance hurdle, then third in Virginia Gold Cup allowance hurdle. (121)
Castle Hill. 2012 b. g., Munnings—Push My Luck, by Press Card. Owner: William L. Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeders: William and Anne Pape (Pa.). 2016 NSA record: 7-1-1-1, $38,950. Won 2016 Shawan maiden hurdle and finished third in Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Pulled up in Colonial Cup ratings handicap. Maiden winner on flat finished third in Iroquois maiden hurdle, then lost rider when stirrup leather broke in Parx maiden. Finished second and fourth in Saratoga allowance hurdles. (117)
Ice It. 2012 gr. or ro. g., Tapit—Spice Island, by Tabasco Cat. Owner: DASH Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Shane McDermott. Breeder: Qatar Bloodstock (Ky.) 2016 record: 5-1-3-0, $68,250. 2015 record: 3-1-0-0, $18,600. Won 2016 Georgia Cup optional allowance hurdle impressively, then was second in Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at Iroquois Steeplechase. Finished sixth in Belmont’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes before seconds in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle and Aflac Supreme Hurdle. Won Far Hills’ Gladstone Hurdle to lock up 2015 three-year-old championship. (126)
Get Ready Set Goes. 2012 ch. f., Run Away and Hide—Ready to Goes, by Lord Avie. Owner-trainer: F. Hill Parker. Jockey: Richard Boucher. Breeder: Frances Hill Myers (Ohio). Champion, novice and female, 2016. 2016 record: 4-3-1-0, $94,500. Reigned as 2016 female champion after winning Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes and Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes, and also seized novice title by earnings. In first starts over fences, finished second in Atlanta allowance hurdle limited to females and then won High Hope open maiden hurdle. Won on flat in Ohio-bred filly race in 2015. (119)
Signature Look. 2012 dk. b. or br. g., Medaglia d’Oro—Ensenada, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Sheila J. Williams and Northwoods Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeder: Colts Neck Stables (Ky.). 2016 NSA record: 3-1-0-2, $25,400. Broke through for maiden victory over fences at 2016 Steeplechase at Callaway after third-place finishes at Shawan Downs and International Gold Cup. (116)
Willow U. 2011 b. m., Utopia (Jpn)—Overextended (Fr), by Entrepreneur. Owner: Check Mark Stables. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Shane Crimin. Breeder: Andy Beadnell (N.Y.) 2016 record: 5-2-0-1, $41,000. 2015 NSA record: 1-0-1-0, $3,600. Closed 2016 season with win in Colonial Cup’s Springdale Stakes after third in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes and sixth in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes. A $35,000 flat claim from win at Saratoga in 2015 broke through for maiden victory at 2016 Carolina Cup, then was fifth in Margaret Currey Henley at Iroquois Steeplechase. (114)