Frank A. Bonsal Jr.’s Stand Down, making only his fifth career start, became a timber classic winner on Sunday when he pulled away to a 7 3/4-length victory in the 84th running of the $40,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Reserved in the back of the field by jockey Eric Poretz, the six-year-old Irish-bred surged toward the lead approaching the last fence, jumped it with International Gold Cup runner-up Super Saturday, and drew clear to the finish line of the Unionville course.
Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Gordonsdale Farm’s Canyon Road in third. Morningstar Farm’s Carrickboy finished fourth in a field of eight.
Trained by Joseph G. Davies, Stand Down ran the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup’s four miles in 8:34 on a course rated as good.
Apple Equipment’s Winner Massagot, a close second in his U.S. debut, soared over the Montpelier Hunt Races’ natural brush fences with jockey Tom Garner and drew away impressively to a 16-length victory in Saturday’s $40,000 Noel Laing Handicap. Trained by Richard Valentine, French-bred Winner Massagot had jumped the last fence on the historic Montpelier grounds
DASH Stable’s Ice It, second in the last two editions of the $75,000 Aflac Supreme Hurdle, prevailed by a head over stablemate Gibralfaro in the Steeplechase at Callaway’s signature race on Saturday.
Sean McDermott, aboard second finisher Gibralfaro, claimed foul, alleging interference at the fourth from last fence, but Callaway’s stewards disallowed the claim. Gillian Johnston’s Set to Music finished third, three lengths behind Gibralfaro.
Carrington Holdings’ Boss Man, who had set the early pace with Gibralfaro, finished fourth. Darren Nagle kept Ice It at the back of the field before launching his bid on the final circuit of the Pine Mountain, Ga., course.
Ice It and Riverdee Stable’s Gibralfaro are trained by Jack Fisher, who completed the hat trick after winning the previous two races on the Steeplechase at Callaway program. The three wins moved the Maryland-based horseman into the lead for the trainer title ahead of Ricky Hendriks.
Two of the year’s top novice performers, Boss Man and, Gibralfaro, will face off Saturday in the $75,000 Aflac Supreme Hurdle, the featured hurdle race of the 34th annual Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga.
The Aflac Supreme Hurdle will highlight a Steeplechase at Callaway program that kicks off with a 1 p.m. first post time.
Boss Man holds the lead in the fight for the championship for newcomers to the jump-racing game with $109,500 in earnings over fences this year. Trained by Arch Kingsley Jr., Boss Man won Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes by a half-length over Ice It.
In his most recent race, he appeared to dislike the yielding ground at the Far Hills Races in a Foxbrook Champion hurdle division and was pulled up before the last fence. Michael Mitchell will ride Boss Man in the Aflac Supreme Hurdle.
Trained by Jack Fisher, Gibralfaro finished a very solid second in the other division of the Foxbrook on Oct. 20. He led nearly all the way on the New Jersey course and held on well to be beaten only a half-length. He previously finished sixth to Boss Man in the Entenmann. Sean McDermott will ride.
Fisher, trying to make up ground on Ricky Hendriks in the battle for this year’s training title, entered DASH Stable’s Ice It, who finished fourth in Gibralfaro’s division of the Foxbrook. Darren Nagle, making his accustomed late-season run on the jockey title, has the mount.
Hendriks, who has 20 wins this season to Fisher’s 18, entered Rosbrian Farm’s Veneer of Charm, who finished sixth in the first Foxbrook division. Bernie Dalton has the mount.
A well-matched field of nine will line up for Saturday’s $40,000 Noel Laing Handicap, the featured race of the 84th annual Montpelier Hunt Races in Virginia.
The race meet on the grounds of James and Dolley Madison’s historic home will kick off with a 12:30 p.m. post time.
Ricky Hendriks, currently leading the battle for the training title, will saddle Rosbrian Farm’s Detroit Blues and Clarcam, owned by Rosbrian and Meadow Run Farm, for the 2 1/2-mile trip around Montpelier’s natural brush course.
Winner of a Foxbrook Champion Hurdle division at the Far Hills Races on Oct. 20, Detroit Blues will be ridden by Ross Geraghty, while Willie McCarthy was named aboard Clarcam, who was pulled up in Far Hills’ Grand National (Gr. 1). He was trained by leading Irish horseman Gordon Elliott for North America’s richest steeplechase race and will carry the 154-pound highweight in the Noel Laing.
Two other Noel Laing competitors took part in the Grand National. Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose finished third for the second straight year for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard. Jack Doyle was named aboard the 2017 Grade 1 winner.
Gillian Johnston’s Days of Heaven, trained by Jack Fisher, finished sixth in the Grand National and will be ridden by Kieran Norris.
Jack Fisher also entered Edith Dixon’s Schoodic, who finished third in last Saturday’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) at the International Gold Cup. McCarthy has a double call.
Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday, a hard-driving second in last Saturday’s International Gold Cup, will come back in eight days to challenge a well-matched field in the 84th annual $40,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. The traditional Sunday program kicks off at 1:30 p.m. at the Unionville course. Trained by Kathy Neilson and ridden by Gerard Galligan, Super