Michael A. Smith’s Le Chevalier, a solid second in the Virginia Gold Cup on May 4, will line up against a quality field of timber specialists in Saturday’s $35,000 Radnor Hunt Cup, the featured race of the 89th annual Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa.
The popular race meet drew full or oversubscribed fields for half of its six races. First post time at W. Burling Cocks Memorial Race Course is 1:30 p.m.
Also on the program is the $35,000 National Hunt Cup, an allowance hurdle, and the $30,000 Thompson Memorial, a ratings handicap for horses ranked at 120 or lower.
Trained by Julie Gomena, Le Chevalier went off as the Virginia Gold Cup’s 2.70-1 favorite after finishing second in the Middleburg Hunt Cup and again finished behind winner Andi’amu. The 10-year-old Broken Vow gelding had won Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup last October. Kieran Norris will ride.
His principal competitor in the 3 1/4-mile Radnor Hunt Cup will be Two’s Company, the 2016 timber champion owned by Bruton Street-US and trained by Jack Fisher. The 10-year-old Irish-bred finished third in the Middleburg Hunt Cup, 15 lengths behind Le Chevalier, on April 20. Sean McDermott will ride Two’s Company, winner of last fall’s New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Bruton Street-US and Fisher also will send out Lemony Bay, who finished second in the Willowdale Steeplechase last Sunday. Hadden Frost will be in the saddle.
The Monday Report for May 13 is now available here. The web address is: https://www.nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/MR5-13-19w.pdf
Kinross Farm’s Just Wait and See controlled the pace throughout Sunday’s $35,000 Willowdale Steeplechase and drew away after the last fence to win by six lengths on a rain-soaked course in Kennett Square, Pa. Bruton Street-US’s Lemony Bay, who shadowed Just Wait and See for much of the Willowdale Steeplechase’s 3½ miles, finished second after
Bruton Street-US’s Scorpiancer landed over the last fence of Saturday’s $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) in stride with Surprising Soul and slowly pulled away to a gritty one-length victory in the National Steeplechase Association’s richest spring race.
Bruton Street-US’s Moscato finished a fast-closing third in a field of six, a head behind Surprising Soul, and Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose finished fourth, 13 ½ lengths farther back. The Irish-bred Scorpiancer provided his trainer, Jack Fisher, with a fourth win on the Iroquois card at Nashville’s Percy Warner Park on a warm and occasionally rainy afternoon.
Ridden by Sean McDermott, Scorpiancer ran the Calvin Houghland Iroquois’ three miles in 5:43 4/5 on turf rated as good.
Scorpiancer had closed out his 2017 Eclipse Award-winning season with a 16-length victory in the Iroquois classic, had missed the 2018 season, and was pulled up in his comeback race, Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), which was won impressively by Moscato on April 20.
The unasked and unanswered question was whether the 10-year-old Scorpiancer had lost too many steps to be competitive again at the top level. Although he had the highest NSA rating among the six starters, Moscato would have been considered the favorite among Fisher’s four starters.
The Temple Gwathmey effort and three weeks made a big difference in his conditioning, and Scorpiancer’s staying power carried him to the finish line in a valiant effort. The victory was by no means easy, unlike two years earlier, and it took all of McDermott’s considerable skills to get him to the line in front of Wendy Hendriks’ dead-game Surprising Soul.
by Craig Braddick Dixon Stroud is the founder of the Willowdale Steeplechase taking place this Sunday (May 12) in Kennett Square, Pa. An accomplished horseman, Dixon won the 1984 Maryland Hunt Cup on Bewley’s Hill and on the same horse took part in the 1987 Grand National at Aintree. Then, as now, a top-four finish
Leading Irish jumps trainer Gordon Elliott knows how to win in America, and he will have three contenders in three races at Saturday’s Iroquois Steeplechase at Nashville’s Percy Warner Park. Last year, the County Meath-based horseman shipped Jury Duty into Far Hills, N.J., for a victory in the $450,000 Grand National (Gr. 1), America’s richest