The Fields Stable’s Barnacle Bill, always well placed under Jack Doyle, moved to the lead on Kingston Downs’ final turn, burst away to a five-length advantage at the last fence, and drew away steadily to a 15 3/4-length victory in the $30,000 Georgia Cup, the featured ratings handicap of Saturday’s inaugural Georgia Steeplechase.
Rosbrian Farm’s Officer Sydney, the Georgia Cup’s 158-pound highweight, finished second under Ross Geraghty, 6 1/2 lengths clear of KMSN Stable’s Able Archer in third with Kieran Norris. Gillian Johnston’s With Rhythm, who set the early pace under Sean McDermott, finished fourth.
Barnacle Bill, an Irish-bred trained by Elizabeth Voss, ran the Georgia Cup’s two miles in 3:45 3/5 on firm turf at the Atlanta-area course.
The Georgia Cup, for horses with National Steeplechase Association ratings of 120 or lower, was the second consecutive victory for Barnacle Bill, who won an International Gold Cup maiden hurdle by seven lengths last October after two consecutive close second-place finishes.
The victory was Doyle’s third of the young NSA season and maintained his position atop the jockey standings by wins.
Ricky Hendriks trained the winners of two of the afternoon’s four races and moved into second place by both wins and earnings. Jonathan Sheppard, with four wins, leads by victories, and Julie Gomena, who trains Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) winner Balance the Budget, leads the earnings table.
Hendriks won the afternoon’s opener, a $15,000 maiden claiming hurdle, with Debra Kachel’s Gotta Get Away, who finished a half-length ahead of Rosbrian Farm’s Cheers to Us, also trained by Hendriks. The Pennsylvania-based horseman took the second race, a $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle, with Eve Ledyard’s Go Get the Basil. He now has three wins on the season.