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 winds down, Hendriks has a triple threat with Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile, Barracuda Stable’s Red Hammer, and Wendy Hendriks’ Any Given Royal.
Swansea Mile finished fourth in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) after a good second in the Steeplechase of Charleston’s featured optional allowance hurdle. Ross Geraghty was named to ride.
Bernie Dalton has the mount on Red Hammer, most recently fifth in Foxfield Spring’s Daniel Van Clief Handicap. Geraghy has a second call on Any Given Royal, a two-time winner this year.
- Bruce Smart Jr.’s Orchestra Leader will be shooting for his second straight 2017 win after winning the Van Clief Memorial for a second time on April 29. Trainer Jimmy Day named Keri Brion to ride.
Reigning champion owner Irv Naylor will be represented by Jack Frost and River Rush, both trained by Cyril Murphy. Jack Frost has been idle since winning the 2016 Sandhills Cup optional allowance hurdle at the Stoneybrook Steeplechase. River Rush won a maiden hurdle last fall.
Jack Doyle will ride Jack Frost, and Sean McDermott has the assignment aboard River Rush.
Here is the field for the $30,000 James B. Holloway Hurdle optional allowance. The horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Orchestra Leader. 2009 b. g., Van Nistelrooy—Magic of Life, by Seattle Slew. Owner: S. Bruce Smart Jr. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Keri Brion. Breeder: Strategy Bloodstock (Ky.) 2017 record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. 2016 record: 10-2-2-0, $49,100. 2015 record: 8-1-5-1, $52,000. Won 2017 Daniel Van Clief Memorial, a race he won in 2015 and was second in 2016. Won 2016 Foxfield Fall’s featured optional allowance hurdle before losing rider in Montpelier’s Noel Laing Handicap and fourth in Colonial Cup ratings handicap. (122)
Jack Frost (GB). 2010 ch. g., Midnight Legend—Bella Macrae, by Bustino. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: The Queen (GB). 2016 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. 2015 NSA record: 2-0-2-0, $22,500. Won only 2016 start, Stoneybrook Steeplechase’s Sandhills Cup optional allowance hurdle. In first U.S. start after purchase from Nicky Henderson’s yard, finished second in Far Hills’ 2015 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. In final start for Queen Elizabeth II, won a novice hurdle at Ffos Las that April. Won his first three starts in 2014. (125)
Swansea Mile (Ire). 2010 b. g., Dylan Thomas (Ire)—Hurry Up Helen, by In the Wings (GB). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: W. Kane (Ire). 2017 record: 2-0-1-0, $7,900. 2016 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $7,500. Finished second in Steeplechase of Charleston’s featured optional allowance hurdle and then was fourth in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3). Finished fourth in Belmont Park’s 2016 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) in U.S. debut, then was seventh in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle and pulled up in Noel Laing Handicap. (125)
River Rush. 2009 b. g., Orientate—Sweet Tart, by Lemon Drop Kid. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Adena Springs (Ont.) 2017 NSA record: No starts. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $13,000. Making first 2017 jump start after being unplaced in Virginia Gold Cup’s Secretariat Stakes on the flat. Scored maiden hurdle win at Aiken Fall and was fifth in tough Colonial Cup ratings handicap. Won 2012 Plate Trial in Ontario. (113)
Red Hammer (GB). 2012 b. g., Falco—Vole de Printemps, by Della Francesca. Owner: Barracuda Stable. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeder: Pontchartrain Stud (GB). 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $4,950. 2016 NSA record: No starts. Finished fourth in 2017 Carolina Cup, then was fifth in Foxfield Spring’s Daniel Van Clief. Raced in England’s juvenile handicap ranks in 2016 and secured first career victory in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, in March. (115)
Any Given Royal. 2009 b. g., Any Given Saturday—Really Royal, by Unreal Zeal. Owner: Wendy W. Hendriks. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Ben Lengacher (Ky.) 2017 record: 2-2-0-0, $30,000. 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $900. Won Tryon Block House allowance hurdle on April 15. Won his maiden 2017 start handily at Aiken Spring after a sixth-place finish in debut over fences at Colonial Cup. (116)