Andi’amu and Doc Cebu, timber champions who finished first and second, respectively, in the Middleburg Hunt Cup, will meet again on Saturday, June 27, in the Virginia Gold Cup, the signature race of the Gold Cup meet at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains.
The Virginia Gold Cup program attracted 136 entries, with 104 horses in its 10 races and 32 on also-eligible lists with a chance to draw into the races if scratches occur.
Also on the program is the David Semmes Memorial Stakes, which attracted two Eclipse Award winners, Scorpiancer (2017) and Zanjabeel (2018), in a field of 11. The Virginia Gold Cup also will feature the Steeplethon over mixed obstacles and two divisions of a ratings handicap.
In addition, the program includes three maiden hurdle divisions, with one of them limited to four-year-olds, and two maiden claiming hurdles. The maiden races and the ratings handicaps all have also-eligible lists.
Like last Saturday’s Middleburg Spring Races, the Virginia Gold Cup will be run without spectators and under strict health and safety restrictions to protect against the new coronavirus. The races will be broadcast by the NSA Network. The Virginia Gold Cup also will host virtual tailgating, hat, and trivia competitions.
Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu, the reigning timber champion trained by Leslie Young, won last year’s four-mile Virginia Gold Cup. Owned by Charles Fenwick, Mike Hankin, and Charles Noell, Doc Cebu was the timber champion in the preceding two years and finished fourth in the 2019 Gold Cup, his first attempt at four miles.
Andi’amu set all the pace in the 3¼-mile Middleburg Hunt Cup and won as he wished, with jockey Thomas Garner gearing down the French-bred through the final sixteenth-mile for a 3¾-length victory.
Well-placed in midfield by jockey Michael Mitchell, Jack Fisher-trained Doc Cebu closed ground and was best of the rest in a top-quality field.
Three other Middleburg Hunt Cup starters will be returning to take on the two champions at the longer distance. Hudson River Farms’ Codrington College closed ground late under Darren Nagle to finish third, 3¼ lengths behind Doc Cebu and a nose ahead of Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday.
Trainer Jonathan Sheppard named Nagle to a return engagement on Codrington College, winner of Shawan Downs’ 2019 Brown Advisory Legacy Chase, and current leading jockey Gerard Galligan has a return call on Super Saturday, who is trained by Kathy Neilson.
Finishing fifth at Middleburg was Dolly Fisher’s Schoodic, the only horse to finish ahead of Andi’amu in a timber race, in the International Gold Cup on the Great Meadow course last October. Trained by Fisher, Schoodic pressed Andi’amu in the Middleburg Hunt Cup before tiring in the stretch.
Completing the field is S. Rebecca Shepherd’s Curve of Stones, who finished fifth in the International Gold Cup and was scratched from the Middleburg Hunt Cup. Trainer David Bourke named Barry Foley to ride the Virginia-bred, who also was entered in the Steeplethon.
All starters will carry 165 pounds. Here is the field for the Virginia Gold Cup.
Schoodic. 2010 b. g., Tiznow—Aunt Henny, by Hennessy. Owner: Dolly Fisher. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Edith R. Dixon (Ky.) 2020 record: 1-0-0-0, $800. 2019 record: 6-5-1-0, $109,500. 2018 record: 6-0-1-2, $35,800. Pressed early pace in 2020 Middleburg Hunt Cup and finished fifth. 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.
Andi’amu (Fr). 2010 b. g., Walk In The Park—Sainte Parfaite, by Septieme Ciel. Owner: Ballybristol Farm. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Thomas Garner. Breeder: Therese Bouche (Fr). 2020 record: 1-1-0-0, $12,000. 2019 record: 4-3-1-0, $115,500. 2018 record: 2-2-0-0, $36,000. Timber champion, 2019. Set all the pace in 2020 Middleburg Hunt Cup and won easily. 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).
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.) 2020 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,000. 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 fourth in 2020 Middleburg Hunt Cup. 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 after fifth in National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Won 2018 Middleburg Hunt Cup, then was third in the Virginia Gold Cup and fourth in Radnor Hunt Cup.
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). 2020 record: 1-0-0-1, $2,000. 2019 record: 4-1-0-2, $22,500. 2018 record: 1-1-0-0, $9,000. Closed ground to finish third in 2020 Middleburg Hunt Cup. 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.
Doc Cebu. 2010 b. g., Hard Spun—Berga, by Jade Hunter. Owners: Charles C. Fenwick Jr., Michael Hankin, and Charles Noell. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Graceville Breeding (Ky.) 2020 record: 1-0-1-0, $3,600. 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. Stayed well to finish second in 2020 Middleburg Hunt Cup. 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.
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.