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 Randolph D. Rouse Memorial, a ratings handicap in memory of the leader of Virginia jump racing and former National Steeplechase Association president who died at age 100 this past spring.
The 3 1/4-mile National Sporting Library attracted a field of 10, including the top five finishers from the Brown Advisory Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs on Sept. 23.
Coming out on top in that 3 1/8-mile timber race was William Dowling-trained Rodriguez, who made a strong late move to overtake Cornhusker and secure the half-length victory. Irish-bred Rodriguez will have a new jockey, Jack Doyle, after Darren Nagle opted to ride Grand Manan, now owned by Perry and Aurelia Bolton’s Armata, for trainer Billy Meister.
Cornhusker, trained by Alicia Murphy, stayed on well in the Legacy Chase, the British-bred gelding’s first start after winning the Mason Houghland Memorial at the Iroquois Steeplechase on May 13 for a third time. Mark Beecher again will be in the saddle.
Finishing third in the Legacy Chase was Four Virginia Gents’ Worried Man, who is trained in Middleburg by Doug Fout. The Dynaformer 10-year-old finished three-quarters of a length behind Cornhusker. Kieran Norris will ride the 2013 Mason Houghland winner, who finished fourth this year.
Sean McDermott will ride Northwoods Stable’s and Sheila Williams’ Straight to It, who finished fourth in the Legacy Chase for leading trainer Jack Fisher.
Also coming out of the Legacy Chase is Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Class Cherokee, fifth in the Legacy Chase for trainer Richard Valentine. McLean Hendriks will ride.
Grand Manan very likely will lay down the pace for the National Sporting Library and Museum Cup. The eight-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding most recently finished second in the Willowdale Steeplechase on May 14. He won last year’s Genesee Valley Hunt Cup and International Hunt Cup within two weeks.
Owner-trainer Benjamin Swope will be aboard Gusto At Dawn, winner of the Virginia Gold Cup’s Steepleton in his most recent start. Also coming out of the Steeplethon on May 6 is Ivy Hill Stable’s On the Corner, a supplementary entry who will be ridden by Keith Dalton.
Here is the field for the $40,000 National Sporting Library and Museum Cup in post-position order following scratches.
Rodriguez (Ire). 2007 dk. b. or br. g., High Chapparal (Ire)—Sofia Aurora, by Chief Honcho. Owner: Kiplin Hall. Trainer: William Dowling. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Michael G. Daly (Ire). 2017 record: 3-1-0-1, $17,500. 2016 record: 3-1-1-0, $12,700. Won Shawan’s 2017 Brown Advisory Legacy Chase. Finished third in 2017 Winterthur Bowl after being pulled up in Grand National’s Western Run Plate. After second at 2016 Shawan Downs meet, won timber maiden at Virginia Fall before fifth at Steeplechase at Callaway in November.
Cornhusker (GB). 2007 b. g., Dynaformer–Nebraska Tornado, by Storm Cat. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Jockey: Mark Beecher. Breeder: Juddmonte Farms (GB). 2017 record: 4-2-2-0, $57,000. 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $4,500. 2015 record: 4-2-0-0, $66,250. Finished second in Shawan’s 2017 Legacy Chase. Won 2017 Mason Houghland Memorial, his third win in the Iroquois timber stakes, after 2014 and 2015. Ran a confident race in the 2017 Middleburg Hunt Cup and won by 5 3/4 lengths, then finished second in the Winterthur Bowl. Finished fourth in 2016 International Gold Cup.
Gusto At Dawn. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Buckle Down Ben—Rose Dawn, by Colonial Affair. Owner-trainer-rider: Benjamin C. Swope. Breeder: Charles C. Conaway Jr. (W.Va.). 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $24,600. 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $750. Won 2017 Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon by six lengths with owner-trainer in saddle. In only other 2017 start, finished fifth in Middleburg Spring timber allowance.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2017 record: 3-0-1-0, $7,800. 2016 record: 4-3-0-0, $82,950. 2015 record: 3-2-0-0, $31,050. 2014 record: No starts. Began 2017 fall season with second in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Finished fourth in 2017 My Lady’s Manor, then was pulled up in Virginia Gold Cup after setting most of pace. Closed 2016 season with back-to-back front-running victories in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup and International Gold Cup. Finished in dead heat for 2016 Willowdale Steeplechase win after fifth in My Lady’s Manor.
Worried Man. 2007 b. g., Dynaformer—Mystic Lady, by Thunder Gulch. Owner: Four Virginia Gents. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Lee Lewis (Ky.) 2017 record: 3-0-0-1, $5,000. 2016 record: No starts. Finished fourth in 2017 Mason Houghland Memorial at Iroquois. In first start in almost three years, lost his rider in Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt Steeplechase.
Straight to It. 2006 ch. g., Giant’s Causeway—Helsinka (Fr), by Pennekamp. Owners: Sheila J. Williams and Northwoods Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Thierry Grandsir (Ky.). 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,250. 2016 record: 4-1-1-1, $30,900. 2015 record: 4-1-1-1, $36,600. Began 2017 campaign with fourth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Won 2016 Radnor Hunt Cup after fourth in Virginia Gold Cup, then was third in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Won Virginia Fall’s 2015 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup by seven lengths. Disqualified from victory in 2015 Radnor Hunt Cup. Won the 2012 New Jersey Hunt Cup at Far Hills.
Class Cherokee. 2010 dk. b. or br. g., Cherokee Boy—Class Excells, by Class Secret. Owner: Jacqueline Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: McLane Hendriks. Breeder: Mede Cahaba Stable and Stud (Va). 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,000. 2016 record: 4-0-0-1, $13,050. 2015 record; 4-1-0-0, $17,500. Won his timber debut in Foxfield Spring’s 2017 Grover Vandevender Memorial maiden race, then was pulled up in Iroquois’ Mason Houghland Memorial. Finished third in 2016 Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase, then sixth in Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at Iroquois Steeplechase and fourth in Far Hills ratings handicap.
On the Corner. 2006 b. g., Smart Strike—Miss Otis, by One for All. Owner: Ivy Hill Stable. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Jockey: Keith Dalton. Breeder: Henry T. Rathbun (Md.). 2017 record: 3-0-1-1, $6,700. 2016 record: 3-0-2-0, $14,400. 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 2-0-0-2, $4,000. Finished second in 2017 John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur allowance timber at My Lady’s Manor and was third in Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon before a fall in a Willowbrook timber allowance.