Timber champions Andi’amu and Doc Cebu, emerging timber star Schoodic, and Grade 1 hurdle winner Swansea Mile form half the field for the Middleburg Hunt Cup, the post-and-rail co-feature of the 100th Middleburg Spring Races on Saturday, June 13.
The Middleburg Hunt Cup will be a part of an 11-race program at Glenwood Park as the long-delayed National Steeplechase Association opens in Virginia. Middleburg Spring and the Virginia Gold Cup on Saturday, June 27, will be run without spectators and under strict health and safety conditions to control the spread of the new coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease that it causes.
The Middleburg Spring program also features the Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3), which attracted many of the top competitors in the hurdle division. First post time is 12:30 p.m.
Ballybristol Farm’s Anti’amu claimed the 2019 timber championship with a stellar campaign that included victories in the Middleburg Hunt Cup, Virginia Gold Cup, and the National Sporting Library & Museum Cup.
Grade 1-placed over hurdles before transitioning to steeplethon racing in 2018, Andi’amu is trained by Leslie Young, who did not name a jockey for the French-bred 10-year-old.
Doc Cebu, owned by Charles Fenwick Jr., Michael Hankin, and Charles Noell, claimed the timber title in 2017 and 2018, sealing both championships with victories in the International Gold Cup. He finished fourth in last year’s Virginia Gold Cup and did not start for the remainder of the season.
Trainer Jack Fisher named Michael Mitchell, last year’s co-champion jockey, to ride the 10-year-old Hard Spun gelding.
Fisher, the champion trainer for an eighth consecutive year in 2019, also trains Schoodic, now owned by his mother, Dolly Fisher. The 10-year-old Tiznow gelding was a Grade 2 winner over hurdles and made a spectacular transition to timber racing last year. In his season finale, he won the International Gold Cup by 2½ lengths over Andi’amu, who was second. Willie McCarthy will ride Schoodic.
Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile will be making his first start over timber for trainer Ricky Hendriks. The Irish-bred 10-year-old pulled a 28.50-to-1 upset in Saratoga Race Course’s 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) but is winless since then. He most recently finished eighth in Far Hills’ Appleton Ratings Handicap. Archie Macauley has the mount.
Hudson River Farms’ Codrington College earned the distinction of being the only horse to finish ahead of Schoodic over timber fences when he prevailed by a neck in Shawan Downs’ Brown Advisory Legacy Chase last September. He subsequently finished fourth to Schoodic in the International Gold Cup.
Trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, Codrington College will be ridden by Darren Nagle.
Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday will attempt to duplicate his 2018 victory in the Middleburg Hunt Cup for trainer Kathy Neilson. Fifth in the Middleburg race last year, the durable 11-year-old most recently finished third in the International Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Gerard Galligan has the call.
Neilson also will saddle Naylor’s Shinobi, who finished fourth in a Genesee Valley timber allowance last fall. Skylar McKenna, the trainer’s daughter, will ride.
Completing the field is Rebecca Shepherd’s Curve of Stones, a maiden timber winner last fall who finished fifth in the International Gold Cup. Trainer David Bourke named Barry Foley to ride.
Here is the field for the $20,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup at 3¼ miles in post-position order.
Andi’amu (Fr). 2010 b. g., Walk In The Park—Sainte Parfaite, by Septieme Ciel. Owner: Ballybristol Farm. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Therese Bouche (Fr). 2019 record: 4-3-1-0, $115,500. 2018 record: 2-2-0-0, $36,000. Timber champion, 2019. Easily won Virginia Fall’s 2019 National Sporting Library and Museum Cup, then was second in International Gold Cup. Won the 2019 Virginia Gold Cup by three lengths and Middleburg Hunt Cup by 5¾ lengths. Won Middleburg Spring’s 2018 Alfred M. Hunt steeplethon, then added Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon Stakes. Finished second in 2017 Noel Laing Handicap and third in 2017 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1).
Codrington College (Ire). 2010 ch. g., Duke of Marmalade—A.P. Easy, by A.P. Indy. Owner: Hudson River Farms. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Laundry Cottage Stud Farm (Ire). 2019 record: 4-1-0-2, $22,500. 2018 record: 1-1-0-0, $9,000. Won Shawan Downs’ 2019 Brown Advisory Legacy Chase, then was fourth in International Gold Cup. Finished third in Grand National’s 2019 Western Run Plate and in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial. Won his timber debut at 2018 Queen’s Cup.
Super Saturday. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Any Given Saturday—Lady Aloma, by Cozzene. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. Breeder: Walton Breeders (Ky.) 2019 record: 3-0-1-3, $29,900. 2018 record: 6-1-2-1, $51,800. 2017 record: 6-0-1-1, $13,400. Finished second in Virginia Fall’s 2019 National Sporting Library and Museum Cup, then was third in International Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished third in 2019 Virginia Gold Cup, then fell in Radnor Hunt Cup. Finished fifth in Middleburg Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2018 International Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Won the 2018 Middleburg Hunt Cup, then was third in the Virginia Gold Cup and fourth in Radnor Hunt Cup.
Doc Cebu. 2010 b. g., Hard Spun—Berga, by Jade Hunter. Owners: Charles C. Fenwick Jr., Michael Hankin, and Charles Noell. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: Graceville Breeding (Ky.) 2019 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2018 record: 5-4-0-1, $102,000. 2017 record: 5-4-1-0, $96,600. Timber champion, 2017, 2018. Finished fourth in 2019 Virginia Gold Cup after losing rider late in My Lady’s Manor. Won International Gold Cup for a second time to lock up 2018 timber title. Also won Shawan Downs’ 2018 Brown Advisory Legacy Chase by 3 1/2 lengths and scored a second victory in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup by seven lengths. Won Willowdale Steeplechase for a second straight year in 2018 after third in Middleburg Hunt Cup. Clinched 2017 timber championship with 11-length victory in International Gold Cup.
Shinobi (Ger). 2012 b. g., Lord Shanakill—Singuna, by Black Sam Bellamy. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Skylar McKenna. Breeder: Stifung Gestut Fahrhof (Ger). 2019 record: 2-0-0-0, $500. 2018 record: 1-1-0-0, $9,000. 2017 record: 3-0-1-0, $4,800. Finished fourth in 2019 Genesee Valley timber allowance and then was pulled up in similar Pennsylvania Hunt Cup race. Won a division of the John Rush Streett Memorial maiden timber race at the 2018 My Lady’s Manor meet. Finished second over hurdles in a 2017 Willowdale claiming hurdle, his first start over fences.
Schoodic. 2010 b. g., Tiznow—Aunt Henny, by Hennessy. Owner: Dolly Fisher. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeder: Edith R. Dixon (Ky.) 2019 record: 6-5-1-0, $109,500. 2018 record: 6-0-1-2, $35,800. Won the 2019 International Gold Cup and Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Opened his timber career in 2019 with three straight victories, including 16¾-length romp in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial and an open-length win in Fair Hill novice timber, then was second in Shawan Downs’ Brown Advisory Legacy Chase. Was a Grade 2 winner and Grade 1-placed over hurdles.
Swansea Mile (Ire). 2010 b. g., Dylan Thomas (Ire)—Hurry Up Helen, by In the Wings (GB). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Archie Macauley. Breeder: W. Kane (Ire). 2019 NSA record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2018 record: 3-0-0-0, $8,500. 2017 record: 7-1-1-2, $122,650. Unplaced in two 2019 starts over hurdles, including Far Hills’ Appleton Rating Handicap. Finished fifth in 2018 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1), then was pulled up in David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) and distant fourth in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). Won Saratoga’s 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 28.50-to-1, then finished fifth in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) and third in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1).
Curve of Stones 2011 gr. or ro. g., Arch—Exceptionally, by El Prado (Ire). Owner: Sarah Rebecca Shepherd. Trainer: David M. Bourke. Jockey: Barry Foley. Breeder: Audley Farm (Va.) 2019 record: 6-1-1-0, $21,800. 2018 record: 3-0-0-0, $2,100. 2017 record: 8-0-0-1, $18,100. Finished second in Callaway Gardens timber allowance after fifth in International Gold Cup. Won timber maiden at 2019 Virginia Fall meet. Made change to steeplethons in 2019 and finished fifth at Middleburg Spring and fourth at the Virginia Gold Cup.