Sideways Syndicate’s Jury Duty, the heavily favored vanguard of an unprecedented Irish invasion, took command on the final turn of the Far Hills Races’ $450,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) on Saturday and rolled clear to a 3 1/4-length victory in America’s richest hurdle race.
Owner-trainer Emmet Mullins’ Tornado Watch launched a big move on Far Hills’ final turn to finish second and complete an Irish exacta. Two American contenders, Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose and Harold A. “Sonny” Via’s Hinterland ran third and fourth, respectively in a field of nine.
Trained by Gordon Elliott, who has made American jump racing a profitable adjunct of his successful Irish stable, Jury Duty went off as the 13-to-10 favorite and paid $4.60 to win after running the Grand National’s 2 5/8 miles in 5:14.80.
The jury was out on the verdict for some time as the Far Hills stewards examined a late change of lanes by Jury Duty. Tornado Watch’s jockey, David Mullins, claimed foul, but the original order of finish was left unchanged.
Robbie Power, who shipped in with a squad of overseas jockeys for the Far Hills card, gave Jury Duty a tactical ride on a solid favorite, keeping the seven-year-old Well Chosen gelding outside and quiet while in the second flight behind a pace set first by Elliott-trained Clarcam and then by Bruton Street-US’s outsider Jaleo, who shipped in from England for trainer Ben Pauling.
Jury Duty and Power powered past the fading speed on the final turn as Tornado Watch, All the Way Jose, and Hinterland launched their bids. The American contenders failed to make a lasting impression, but Mullins switched Tornado Watch to the inside and was in striking range.
Bending into the stretch, Jury Duty switched to the inside, and Mullins took up on Tornado Watch. Both riders continued to ride to the wire, with Jury Duty widening his advantage to the finish line.
From the New York Racing Association: The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and Monmouth at Far Hills will partner to offer horseplayers an all-stakes Pick 4 on Saturday, October 20. The Empire Showcase Day card from Belmont Park features eight stakes races for New York-bred horses including the featured $300,000 Empire Classic, a 1
The 98th annual Far Hills Races attracted a strong cast of overseas-based horses, and the New Jersey steeplechase meet’s rich races also are a magnet for many of the top jump jockeys in England and Ireland. Here are the overseas-based jockeys scheduled to ride in the Grand National (Gr. 1). Adrian Heskin, 26, is a
The $450,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) will be a decidedly international affair at the Far Hills Races on Saturday after Irish and English trainers filled the entry box for a highly competitive edition of America’s richest steeplechase race.
The 2 5/8-mile Grand National will be the highlight of the 98th annual Far Hills Races, which will offer $900,000 in purses, a record for an American race meet. In partnership with Monmouth Park, Far Hills will conduct pari-mutuel wagering for the first time, and the meet’s high-definition video signal will be available on its website, www.farhillsrace.org.
In addition to the Grand National, the program will feature two divisions of the Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices, or horses in their first seasons of racing over fences. Each division will carry a $125,000 purse.
Also on the card are the Gladstone Stakes for three-year-olds, the New Jersey Hunt Cup over timber, a ratings handicap, and a Sport of Kings maiden hurdle, each worth $50,000. All the races drew large fields.
While overseas trainers accounted for five of nine Grand National entries, several starters already have American owners. Prominent Irish trainer Gordon Elliott will take two shots at the Grand National after winning last year’s Foxbrook with Zanjabeel, who already is a two-time Grade 1 winner for his American owners, Rosbrian Farm and Meadow Run Farm.
In August, Rosbrian and Meadow Run acquired Clarcam, a veteran who has earned more than $600,000 in 49 career starts. Elliott shipped the Galway Steeplechase Plate winner to the U.S. for unplaced starts in Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) and Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Irish-based jockey Jack Kennedy has the mount.
Elliott also will saddle Sideways Stable’s Jury Duty, who finished third to Clarcam in the €250,000 Galway Steeplechase Plate on Aug. 1. Robbie Power, also based in Ireland, will ride.
Danny Mullins, another top Irish jockey, won last year’s Grand National on Gillian Johnston’s Mr. Hot Stuff for trainer Jack Fisher, and he will again carry the owner’s silks aboard Days of Heaven, who will be making his first start for Fisher. Days of Heaven finished fifth in the 2016 Grand National for trainer Nicky Henderson.
Twenty horses dropped into the entry box for Saturday’s $125,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices, or horses in their first seasons of racing over fences, and Far Hills Races officials split the race, with $125,000 in each division. The split raised Far Hills’ purses to a National Steeplechase Association record $900,000 for a race meet.
Lee Pokoik’s Roller Rolls On, winner of the year’s only hurdle race for three-year-olds, heads a cast of 10 for Saturday’s opening race on the $900,000 Far Hills Races program, the $50,000 Gladstone Stakes. Because of its purse and stature, the 2 1/8-mile Gladstone will be a strong determining factor in deciding the year’s champion