Two’s Company begins the defense of his 2016 timber championship in Saturday’s $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup, the supporting feature of the 97th annual Middleburg Spring Races. First post time is 1 p.m. at the Glenwood Park Course.
Also on the program is the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3) over National Fences.
Owned by Bruton Street-US and trained by Jack Fisher, Two’s Company collected his championship in a highly competitive year for top timber horses. His run to the title included a win in the Middleburg Hunt Cup as well as victory in the National Sporting Library & Museum Cup on the Glenwood course at the Virginia Fall Races.
Two’s Company also finished second in the Virginia Gold Cup and the International Gold Cup. Fisher, the National Steeplechase Association’s champion trainer for the last five years, named Sean McDermott to ride.
Joining the cast for the 3 1/4-mile Middleburg Hunt Cup is supplemental entry Cornhusker, who is owned by Armata Stables and trained by Alicia Murphy. Winner of the 2015 Mason Houghland Memorial, the English-bred Dynaformer gelding most recently finished fourth in the 2016 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Champion jockey Kieran Norris has the mount.
Gerard Galligan will be aboard Holston Hall’s Hot Rize, the 2014 timber champion. Trained by Russell Haynes, Hot Rize raced only once last year, finishing fourth in the Mason Houghland at the Iroquois Steeplechase.
Charles Fenwick Jr.’s Puller finished second in the C. P. and Edith Wills DeBose Cup timber allowance at the Carolina Cup in Camden, S.C., on April 1. Trained by Todd Wyatt, Puller also finished second in last fall’s New Jersey Hunt Cup. Gus Dahl will ride.
Gordonsdale Farm’s homebred Canyon Road, trained by Christopher Kolb, won a maiden race at last year’s Willowdale Steeplechase and scored an allowance victory at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Jeff Murphy will be in the saddle.
Here is the field for the $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup.
Canyon Road. 2009 ch. g., Service Stripe—Observe, by Patton. Owner: Gordonsdale Farm. Trainer: Christopher Kolb. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. Breeder: Gordonsdale Farm (W.Va.) 2016 record: 5-2-0-1, $25,250. 2015 record: No starts. Finished fourth in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, then won timber allowance at Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Won Willowdale maiden hurdle in May and then was distanced in Fair Hill’s novice timber allowance.
Puller. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Lion Hearted—Londonderry, by Perfecting. Owner: Charles C. Fenwick Jr. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Gus Dahl. Breeder: Elberton Hill Farm (Md.) 2017 record: 1-0-1-0, $3,600. 2016 record: 5-0-1-2, $14,500. 2015 record: 4-1-1-1, $14,150. Began 2017 with second in Carolina Cup’s C. P. and Edith Wills DeBose Cup timber allowance. Finished second in 2016 New Jersey Hunt Cup after third in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup.
Two’s Company (Ire). 2009 b. g., Soviet Star—Gaye Lady, by Pistolet Bleu (Ire). Owner: Bruton Street-U.S. Trainer Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeders: M. W. and Mrs. M. Doran (Ire). 2016 record: 6-4-2-0, $103,200. 2015 record: 4-1-1-0, $12,600. Timber champion 2016. Opened 2016 with victories in Middleburg Hunt Cup and Carolina Cup’s C. P. and Edith Wills DuBose Cup, then closed for second in Virginia Gold Cup. Won 2016 Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs and Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup before second in International Gold Cup.
Cornhusker (GB). 2007 b. g., Dynaformer–Nebraska Tornado, by Storm Cat. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Kieran Norris. Breeder: Juddmonte Farms (GB). 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $4,500. 2015 record: 4-2-0-0, $66,250. 2014 record: 5-2-1-0, $50,300. Finished fourth in 2016 International Gold Cup after seventh in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Ended 2014 and 2015 seasons with second-place finishes in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished sixth in 2015 New Jersey Hunt Cup after winning Iroquois’ Mason Houghland Memorial for the second straight year. Won 2015 Middleburg Hunt Cup after sixth-place finish in My Lady’s Manor.
Hot Rize. 2004 dk. b. or br. g., Sultry Song—Donesia, by Desert Wine. Owner: Holston Hall. Trainer: Russell Haynes. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. Breeder: Anne Haynes (Ky.) 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,500. 2015 record: 5-0-0-0, $5,100. 2014 record: 4-2-0-1, $79,400. Timber champion, 2014. Finished well-beaten fourth in 2016 Mason Houghland Memorial at Iroquois Steeplechase. Unplaced in five 2015 starts. Clinched 2014 timber championship with half-length score in Far Hills’ New Jersey Hunt Cup. Won that year’s Virginia Gold Cup at odds of 10.70-1.